We at Temple B’rith Sholom have an ongoing commitment to social action and repairing the world. We are constantly reaching out to others. Our menu of projects varies annually such as seeking to address the environment, helping to educate children, or supporting multicultural programs in the community. However, our main thrust of Tikkun Olam is in feeding the hungry in our community. The following main annual projects are ongoing:
Thanksgiving Baskets: For almost 30 years, we have partnered with our neighbor, First Congregational Church, in securing donations of funds and food, dividing food items between baskets, and then distributing the baskets through social agencies to the needy. This all happens in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and the week prior to Thanksgiving, the Temple is the site of a massive undertaking, preparing an average of 200 such baskets each year.
Interfaith Holiday Breakfast: Each Christmas Day—on December 25th—we turn our temple Memorial Hall into a “pancake breakfast buffet”. Our doors are then open to the public, where volunteers (about 50 or so) serve up breakfasts of eggs, turkey sausages, pancakes, juice, pastries, coffee and tea. Between 300-400 Springfield guests attend and donations are collected. Proceeds then go to a worthy local charity—Girls and Boys Club, Senior Services of Central Illinois, Urban League—just to name a few.
Winter Overflow Shelter and Adopt-a-Lasagna: Throughout the winter months TBS volunteers provide lasagnas and desserts to the Springfield Overflow Shelter (SOS). Through out the year, congregants donate funds to purchase the foods and then once a month distribute them to the guests at the center.
Food Bank: Each Spring we join forces with the Springfield Jewish Federation, Temple Israel as a Partner Agency of Central Illinois Foodbank to operate a food pantry program that serves the needy, ill, infants/children or elderly. Now in it’s third year at TBS, we started our program as a mobile food pantry and they are now known at “Healthy Foods Distributions”. We act as the host site to secure a parking lot and volunteers to unload food items as they are delivered, package them in take-home sacks and assist in distribution of the food items to families that participate. We have been able to distribute around 12,000 pounds of food in under two hours using a “farmers market style” which allows guests to roam among the pallets of food to select the items they want or need.