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HOPEMobile Sandwich Program

Youth prepare weekly lunches for the homeless.

Community Contact Information:
Temple Adath Israel
Lexington, KY
http://www.lextai.org/

Goals:

  • Teach religious school students about homeless.
  • Empower children to become advocates on issues of hunger and homelessness.
  • Provide meals to those in need.
  • Engage local community in service work and tzedakah.

Overview:
In order to become advocates and activists on hunger and homelessness issues, the synagogue partnered with a local nonprofit (HOPEmobile) to provide meals to area homeless. Working with this organization, a sandwich-making project was enacted to provide a specific, ongoing need for the local impoverished community.

Preparation:
The synagogue’s social action committee contacted the HOPE Center, a local organization that provides services for homeless individuals to build a project that would serve the community and teach the importance of tzedakah, advocacy and hands-on service.

Project Implementation:
To introduce the program, a speaker from the HOPE Center came to the synagogue's religious school to speak with parents and children. The project organizers outlined a complete program which included both a hands-on project and an advocacy and educational component.

The sandwich-making project was coordinated by the social action committee in partnership with the religious school. Classrooms of students were organized each week to make, package and deliver the needed 100 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Each Sunday afternoon, following religious school, a different classroom was on schedule. Parents were asked to help pick up the bread on Sunday morning and deliver the sandwiches to the HOPE Center on Sunday evening.

To fulfill the advocacy and educational component, an age-appropriate curriculum was designed for the religious school classes to supplement the hands-on activity of sandwich-making and delivery.

The project was funded in a variety of ways:

  • Weekly tzedakah donations to help underwrite the cost of supplies
  • Fundraising at the Social Action Committee's Chanukah Fair (which raised over $1,000)
  • Donations including those from local bakeries who donate leftover Saturday bread which were collected by families and brought to the synagogue on Sunday morning.

Results:
This program is simple, inexpensive, long-term and can be easily replicated in other areas. It teaches the importance of service to the community, raises awareness in the community about the problems of the homeless, and involves all religious school students and their parents.