Our synagogue has a group for women. We are meeting on Dec. 21 to discuss doing an outreach project. How many gift bags do you distribute? And where should I drop them off? This is a great opportunity for my group since most of them are seniors (70-85 year olds) who are still able to live in their own homes.Let me know what works for you.
The beginning of the New Year, on a frigid mid-January afternoon, Rabbi Sarah delivered the gifts.
It was many weeks after the Christmas holiday giving season that I received a call from the kind Rabbi from a well-to-do Phila suburb saying that the bags were all ready to be delivered.
Just before Christmas, some of the ladies in her congregation, who were “a little up in years themselves” gathered to discuss how they might help others during the holiday season.
They made 40 goodie bags chock-filled with lotions, lip balm, candy, toiletries, note pads and pens, all placed in colorful organizing baskets……all packaged in pretty white gift bags.
The Rabbi came over for a visit and delivered the pretty packages to me. I was so impressed that this very busy member of the clergy took the time to drive 45 minutes to my house…..and that the ladies in the autumn and winter of their lives had gone to such expense to purchase items and give of their time to prepared the packages for delivery.
Not surprisingly, the wonderful ladies also went to local children’s hospitals to cook for the parents who stood watch over their sick kids, on Christmas morning.
So, off I went to do my programs for seniors in retirement communities and nursing homes, happily bearing the gifts of Rabbi Sarah.
Together as an affluent congregation family, they shared the very meaningful work of preparing and serving meals, just like chefs on the Food Network. And their loving spirit was transferred from their Main Line address to senior strangers, living in so not so ritzy neighborhoods – to other kind ladies who so appreciated the white-handled gift bags.
The disconnected threads of many groups of seniors connected with this project – Rabbi Sarah’s friends were passing along the spirit of the holiday season, peace and kindness, and their caring hearts were connecting too. I believe that the recipients were also like Rabbi Sarah’s friends – before they became sick and and needed care from nursing home staff.
Many of the residents probably had tireless energy to do good for others in their earlier years. They most likely contributed their time and talents to all around them – in many ways.
The beginning of the New Year was the perfect time for Rabbi Sarah to deliver the gifts. The many small items created big smiles -and the special gifts chased the winter blues away!