Practicing Tikkun Olam in the Lakes Region

Temple B’nai Israel takes pride in giving members the opportunity to not only “be†Jewish, but to “do†Jewish through our Social Action Committee and the Salvation Army “Friendly Kitchen†lunch program that helps those facing food insecurity for themselves and their families.  The staff of the Salvation Army and/or volunteers prepare lunch in their kitchen six days a week.  The lunch program is supported by many Lakes Region religious and civic organizations who provide and serve a hot lunch about once a month.   Generally, there are 30-40 people served, however, during the pandemic as the need increased, lunches were packed in to-go containers for the clients to take with them.  Last month they returned to serving sit-down meals.  If there is anything not consumed at lunch, it is served at the Carey House, a residential home run by the Salvation Army, that evening.

The TBI Social Action Committee Salvation Army lunch program is currently co-chaired by Rhoda Goodman and Lois Kessin and all the food is supplied by the temple.  Rhoda and Lois shop, prepare, and deliver nutritious and tasty meals once a month.  A meal generally consists of a protein with vegetables and rice or other carbohydrate and varies from month to month.  There are the standards like Shepherd’s pie, baked chicken, spaghetti and meat sauce, Sloppy Joes, a hearty chicken, vegetable, and rice stew, and during the summer, tuna fish and egg salad sandwiches.  Desserts are always included – fruit, brownies, or other homemade baked goods from temple volunteers.

Sometimes an unexpected menu opportunity pops up such as a blintze souffle that was prepared with the homemade blintzes from the Jewish Food Festival.  A salad was added to round out the meal.   Last month in celebration of Sukkot, the religious school students, teachers, parents, and Rabbi Dan Danson went to glean vegetables in the fields at Greens and Beans Farm in Gilford as part of a Tikkun Olam project and learning experience.   The gleanings were cooked with chicken into a hearty vegetable and chicken soup that will be served with salad, corn muffins and brownies for dessert.

Rhoda Goodman has been an integral part of the lunch program for more than three years and enjoys the process and the results.  “It is our pleasure to be involved with providing meals for those in need.  The clients are very grateful to TBI.  They always thank us in their prayers before the meal and as they are served.â€

Temple B’nai Israel looks forward to the post-pandemic days when TBI volunteers can return to serving the meals that are prepared in the TBI kitchen to the Salvation Army clients.  A meal is more than just food, it’s community for a senior that would otherwise be shut-in or a sense of normalcy for a family that lost their home.  TBI is proud to help The Salvation Army in its mission to fill empty stomachs and empty hearts.