Grateful to Jeff Schultz, one of the co-chairs of TBT’s team to work with Family Promise/Interfaith Hospitality Network where we host up to four homeless families, four times a year, in the synagogue.
It wasn’t long after the rooms were emptied, the moving the truck was loaded and another successful Family Promise week was complete when one of the residents of the program approached me in the parking lot at Temple Beth Tikvah.
“I just want to thank you,” the single mother of two said. “Everybody was so nice.”
And then she handed me an envelope with a thank you note.
I bring this up because I’ve come to learn that there are two kinds of charity, two kinds of helping, two kinds of giving back to the community: One is the kind that most of us do from a distance – writing a check, donating to a food drive, giving old clothes to various organizations, all of which are great. But the other kind, the hands-on kind, the charity that asks you to give a little bit of your time and experience the difference one can make on the relative front lines, has been a far more fulfilling experience for myself and my wife, Jeanne.
I mentioned that a mother from the last Family Promise week at Temple Beth Tikvah handed me a thank you. I’m now going to share that with you:
“Greetings, I would like to utilize this opportunity to thank each and every one of the Temple Beth Tikvah family for your hospitality this week. Whether it was a prepared meal, a kind act, an encouraging word or a warm smile, I am appreciative of the sacrifices you all made to ensure my daughters and I were safe, showered and well fed! I pray God blesses you individually as well as collectively for all you have done!”
Family Promise has been an incredibly rewarding program. I applaud our wonderful spiritual leader, Rabbi Fred Greene, for spearheading the effort to bring the program to the synagogue and for expanding TBT’s community outreach efforts. When we help heal others, we help all of us. It’s sometimes easy to forget that as we get caught up in our own lives, families and jobs.
I bring this up because a third Family Promise week almost is upon us and we need you! TBT will host up to four families again from Aug. 18 to Aug. 25. More than anything else, we need both women and men from our community to spare a little time, volunteer to spend a night and serve breakfast, or perhaps act as a “captain” for a few hours in the evening between the dinner and the overnight crews.
It’s a very small commitment that can go a very long way.
As always, we also welcome anybody who can provide a meal for an evening. But it’s imperative that we have the overnight slots filled as soon as possible and we MUST have one female and one male on each night.
If you would more information on the Family Promise program, here’s a primer from the website (FamilyPromise.org): http://familypromise.org/ihn-how-it-works
Here’s a video that introduces the program:
To sign up, please go to http://vols.pt/1pAkqB to go to our invitation page on Volunteer Spot. You may need to register if you haven’t already. After you enter your email address and sign up, you can choose when you want to volunteer and you will receive an automated confirmation and reminders.
Thanks to all of those who have volunteered in the past and to the rest of you for considering joining in. We look forward to seeing you in August!
Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and a long time member of Temple Beth Tikvah.