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Project H.E.L.P.

Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, CA created Project H.E.L.P.

Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, California has been involved with many projects involving hunger and poverty, the environment, literacy, Darfur, and disaster relief. The congregation oversees three food distribution programs, providing fresh produce to low-income schools and a summer pantry, supplementing meals for hundreds of seniors and producing thousands of pounds of vegetables to the local food bank from its congregational garden. The congregation's greening program earned them a "Conservation Champion Award." Other projects include literacy volunteers, interfaith initiatives, advocacy and community organizing.

Hunger: In partnership with the San Francisco Food Bank, the congregation purchases healthy groceries, toiletries, and household goods helping 75 families from the local elementary school further stretch a tight budget. The congregation has also ensured that the school remains stocked with emergency food for parents to take during the week, and provides extra snacks for the students. Congregation Emanu-El also has a fully functional farm that includes a green house. Volunteers and staff plant, harvest, and re-harvest produce such as zucchini, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower from April to October. Last year the garden produced 23,000 pounds of vegetables.  Many other projects in the area of hunger include: food drives to benefit the San Francisco Food Bank, Turkey Drive (congregations are asked to contribue a minimum of $12 to help the San Francisco Food Bank provide holiday meals), Interfaith Week of Meals (in partnership with the San Francisco Interfaith Council, members prepare and serve dinners to 100 homeless men who are housed in a church shelter), and many others.

Environment: Green Emanu-El - Temple has made many efforts to green itself such as: bathroom improvements such as touchless faucets, foam soap, coreless toilet paper holders, self-flushing toilets and automatic paper towel dispensers. Emanu-El uses green cleaning products, filter-enclosed vacuums, and lighting changes, which reduce wattage using compact fluorescents and energy efficient exit signs, throughout the building. Bike rack was installed for the use of staff and visitors. Employees have the opportunity to purchase public transit passes on a pre-tax basis. Composting and recycling are highly encouraged.

Environmental Education: Earth Day 2006, speaker from SF Dept of the Environment for Shabbat Services, kicking off a weekend of environmental awareness. Three part series entitled "Protect our Environment" with a focus on energy and water conservation, the 4R's of waste reducation, and "home and car-clean and green." A screening of "An Inconvienient Truth" for high school students, open to the community. "Tips" in weekly email newsletter to the congregation.

Environment Projects: Earth Day 2006 - Goodwill Drive kept 70,000 pounds of goods out of landfills, particularly computers and other small electronics. Young Adult Community clean up day at Golden Gate Park. Another drive netted another ton of clothing, computers, and household goods.

Literacy: Partnership with the Jewish Coalition for Literacy placing over 20 tutors in two partner elementary schools and other sites. Founder, with the Third Baptist Church of "Back on Track" a 20-year partnership to provide tutoring and mentoring to low-income elementary and high school students. Book drives to support partner schools. School supply drive to support partner schools.

Congregation Emanu-El's partnership with the Third Baptist Church, an African-American congregation. also includes an annual pulpit exchange in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend.