Saluting Soldiers’ Service with Holiday Care Packages

0
Calling all fathers and sons in search of a bonding activity that also makes a difference in the community.

Calling all fathers and sons in search of a bonding activity that also makes a difference in the community.
On Aug. 22, you can join the Northeast Philadelphia chapter of Avos Ubanim — a father and son learning program — at Congregation Ahavas Torah to put together care packages for Jewish soldiers in the U.S. service.
Jarred Nisenfeld, who runs the Avos Ubanim chapter, came across an organization called KosherTroops.com, which was created by two women in New York that sends holiday care packages to these soldiers “that include items that will help them celebrate the Jewish holidays and Shabbat so that they feel connected to the Jewish community while away.”
After learning about their mission, Nisenfeld knew this was something he wanted to do with Avos Ubanim.
He set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations to buy snacks and supplies that will be included in the 150 to 200 packages that will be sent out. He’s already raised more than his $1,500 goal.
While not affiliated with KosherTroops.com, Nisenfeld said he and the other volunteers will put together the packages from their own resources and KosherTroops.com will distribute them to the soldiers.
Nisenfeld estimated that the packages get delivered to about 1,000 soldiers.
“It’s an important thing to give back and do different things like this,” Nisenfeld said.
Being that the care packages are geared toward different holidays, the packages Nisenfeld is working to put together will arrive in time for Rosh Hashanah.
Nisenfeld had first heard about KosherTroops.com around Shavuot of last year, but it wasn’t enough time to put packages together in time for the holiday. As Rosh Hashanah is the next one coming up in time for package distributions, Nisenfeld wanted to get volunteers together to participate.
While apples and honey may not travel so well, the packages will include kosher snacks like honey sticks, DiDo honey candy, packets of peanuts, crackers and other items.
“I have postcards from an organization called Project Inspire,” he added, “so I’m giving them out to people that come so they can write a little message to the soldiers.”
For Nisenfeld, the opportunity to do this was basically a no-brainer.
“I take for granted how easy it is for me to get kosher food and snacks in Philadelphia,” he said. “But some of these soldiers are serving overseas in different countries, so the fact that I have the ability to send these Jewish soldiers some nice kosher treats for Rosh Hashanah, I feel I have an obligation to do that.”
For the father and son volunteers who come to participate, it is a chance to help give the soldiers a taste of home and give back to the community.
“For the boys that are packing up the care packages,” he said, “I want them to know that the Jews — that the soldiers, the men and women serving our country, that when they need our help, we have to step up and help them. It’s no different than you would help a person up the street.”
Avos Ubanim meets during the winter on Saturday nights after Shabbat and during the summer on Shabbat afternoons, Nisenfeld said, adding that they hold other programs throughout the year, but this is the first time they’re doing something like this.
Nisenfeld hopes to make it a yearly event.
Sending these packages is a way to provide a sense of familiarity for the Jewish soldiers, especially when the holidays roll around.
It’s also a way to salute their service, he said.
“For the soldiers, I want them first and foremost to know that obviously that we appreciate their service,” he said, “but more so that, even though on a one-to-one basis I don’t know any of them, but the fact that they’re still Jews that are serving, it’s no different from my brothers and sisters that are serving. It’s like extended family.”
The packages will be put together from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Congregation Ahavas Torah, 1425 Rhawn St. in Philadelphia. The GoFundMe page for donations will be active until the day of the event and can be found at gofundme.com/jewishsoldiers.
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0740

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here