Community Contact Information:
- Providing necessary, but often overlooked, items to the homeless.
- Engage sixth-grade bar/bat mitzvah students and general congregation in tikkun olam.
- Build class unity around a common social justice goal.
This ongoing yearly program is done in partnership with a local homeless advocacy organization. Within the synagogue, the project is spearheaded by the sixth grade class and their families.
Preparation: Sixth grade class studies issues of homelessness and tikkun olam. Their class is responsible for coordinating the synagogue collection of donated goods. They contact a local grocer to donate paper bags (to collect goods), create and photocopy flyers and marketing materials, distribute bags to congregants and distribute donations upon collection.
Project Implementation: The congregation is informed via written and verbal instructions that they will be taking part in an underwear drive. Brown paper grocery bags are distributed to attendees of Rosh Hashanah morning services. Congregants are instructed to fill the bags with NEW undergarments (socks, briefs, bras, undershirts, men’s, women’s & children’s sizes, etc.) and return the filled bags on Yom Kippur. On om Kippur, the sixth grader class collected goods.
The underwear drive continues through the month of October with reminders announced from the bimah, advertised in the newsletter and printed on flyers distributed to Religious School children. Throughout the fall holidays and up to the end of the month, parents deliver the rest of the donations collected directly to the partner organization.
Results: The first year, the synagogue collected 1,554 items with the number of donations increasing every year. The sixth grade students and families were inspired to act intentionally in their community to help those in need.