Hunger and Homelessness
Temple Beth Am recognizes the needs of those living in the Greater Seattle area without access to basic neccessities, such as food and shelter. We carry out the tikkun olam tradition with regard that individuals and families fall into hunger or homelessness for many different reasons and that each person deserves adequate resources to live. Our members strive to provide these things in a number of ways.
Any one family disaster can mean the loss of a home, whether it's related to medical bills, divorce, domestic violence, foreclosure, or other issues. When that happens, the first step for a family is to find temporary shelter and other supports to keep the family together and stabilize the children. Then comes the second and most difficult step: getting out of homelessness. That's where Temple Beth Am's Homeless to Renter (H2R) program offers support.
More than 25 agencies refer families going through this difficult step to Jewish Family Service (JFS), which determines when the families are ready to rent their own apartment. Each family locates an apartment that they can afford, and, when that time comes, Temple Beth Am's H2R program funds move-in costs, furnishes them with household supplies, and provides personal items such as afghans, scarves, and hats that are hand-made by our Knitzvah Knitters.
In the process of raising awareness, collecting donations, and creating and packing the household items with care, our community is deepened at TBA, and we gain a greater understanding of what it takes to support our neighbors. Each spring, our members purchase donation vouchers from Purim to Pesach in support of H2R. Throughout the school year, our Knitzvah Knitters (both seasoned and brand new) team up to generate warm accessories. In the Fall, we hold a large gathering at Simchat Sukkot to hear a keynote speaker who has experience working toward ending homelessness in Seattle. All proceeds go to H2R, and we are educated on the most essential ways we can help.
Interested in contributing? Contact Shana Kaye to make a donation or go to our Giving page, connect with Carlee Savage or Leslie Peterson to join in our knitting efforts, and check back for our upcoming opportunities in the Fall.
Temple Beth Am hosts Mary's Place annually. Mary's Place is a Seattle organization that allows homeless women and children to reclaim their lives by providing shelter, nourishment, resources, healing, and hope in a safe community. During this week-long Rotating Night Shelter program, we welcome families from Mary's Place into Temple Beth Am, serve them dinner and breakfast, provide them with bathing facilities and equip them with a safe place to sleep. Our staff and volunteers are oriented to provide the best care possible, and give their time around the clock to make this impactful program successful.
Mary's Place Rotating Shelter will host guests from December 20 - 27. Volunteers are needed for meal preparation, evening and overnight hosts, setup and breakdown, and drivers. Families and individuals are encouraged to volunteer. There is a sign-up genius accessible from the temple website, and an orientation required for any new volunteers, date indicated on the signup as well. Volunteers can register by clicking here.
On the first Thursday of every month, we cook and serve a hot, nutritious dinner to homeless youth, ages 13-25 in the University District. Over a healthy meal at Teen Feed, young people connect with specially trained advocates and support coordination staff to access the resources and services they need.
Temple Beth Am members may volunteer to cook and serve the meal or donate food if they are unable to join. Youth over 12 years old are welcome to volunteer, but anyone under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult. For more information or to sign up for our meal team, please contact Megan Aukema.
New sign-ups will be posted about two weeks before each event. Check out our blog for the latest and to sign up to volunteer!
On the fifth Wednesday of the month, our members provide dinner to about 60 homeless and in-crisis youth at YouthCare Orion Center. We create these meals by asking for volunteers to contribute particular items each month. To find out how you can get involved, please contact Susan Simon.
Want to save the date for our next meet-up? Please check back for our upcoming opportunities.
One Sunday every month, TBA members make sack lunches for the women of Angeline's Day Center, a safe and welcoming place for homeless women to spend the day. The women who come to Angeline's Day Center can enjoy meals in the dining room, leave their belongings in large lockers, care for their personal hygiene in showers and bathrooms, clean their clothes, take refuge from the cold, talk to counselors, get medical treatment, or simply sit and rest. For more information, please contact Julie Lyss.
Please see the TBA main calendar for this month's date.
Members of both TBA and Congregation Beth Shalom work together to provide hot meals to 40-70 homeless individuals on the third Sunday of each month. This includes bringing prepared food, serving, and cleaning up at the end of the night. We also bring food, such as protein bars and string cheese, that these people can take with them. We meet at the Lake City St. George's Episcopal Church (2212 NE 125th, around back). To volunteer, contact Jo Merrick.