Avodah: Helping People during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Congregation Avodah.pngOver the last few extraordinary weeks, as the COVID-19 pandemic created new hardships and special needs for homeless people, Avodah has been very active in providing much-needed  bottles of water, camping gear and new underwear to the street community in Victoria.

Fortunately, bottled water and camping gear will no longer be required now that homeless people are, thankfully, being moved into temporary accommodation in hotels.  However, the need for many services continues unabated to meet the huge challenges in supporting the most vulnerable in our community created by the pandemic.

Please consider donating to Avodah at this  time.  We will do our best to find opportunities to assist organizations with their valuable work in the field.

The synagogue office is closed but Zelda who is working from home can access the shul telephone messages. Send her an email or call 250 382 0615 and leave her a  message indicating that you wish to donate to Avodah and she will get back to you.

Todah rabah for your generosity,
Avodah Social Action Committee

 

Responding to Homelessness Pandemic Needs

Homelessness VictoriaUrgent Action needed: Spread compassion, Stop diseases. — You can help. Our homelessness service providers need more funding to respond to this crisis. Please donate generously to Avodah who will ensure all monies go directly to those organizations working on the front line.

On a typical night about 1,500 people in the CRD are homeless. These people face special challenges during this pandemic. Homeless people tend to be vulnerable to infections due to the combination of daily stress, chronic diseases, and poor nutrition. They often lack basic hygiene resources like sinks and clean toilets, and opportunities to bathe and wear clean clothes. They are often in crowded conditions and share food and cigarettes. Crowded shelters are particularly risky environments.

Public health officials advise people exposed to or infected by contagious diseases to stay home and minimize contact with other people. Quarantines are difficult enough for people with stable homes and reliable incomes; they are virtually impossible for people who are homeless or living in crowded or unhealthy homes. If they do become infected, they will need to stay in hospitals, using scarce beds, adding stresses and costs to overburdened public health services. Everybody benefits if we can reduce the risks of infectious diseases to homeless service providers’ clients, staff and volunteers.

Homeless service providers are acting to reduce infection risks, including more frequent cleaning of their facilities and equipment, and providing information and support to their clients. Some are closing service altogether. These efforts reduce risks to clients, staff and volunteers, but leave critical gaps and will be inadequate if COVID-19 becomes established in our community. On March 18, Our Place closed down its drop-in space, computer lab, courtyard, hygiene, and clothing area but plans to continue operating its washroom facilities, transitional housing, shelter spaces, and providing three daily meals. Cool Aid is closing its dental clinic and community centre. Our homelessness service providers need more funding to respond to this crisis.

You can help. Our homelessness service providers need more funding to respond to this crisis. Please donate generously to Avodah who will ensure all monies go directly to those organizations working on the front line. The synagogue office is closed but Zelda can access the shul’s telephone number and is working from home. Send her an email or call (250)-382-0615 and if necessary leave a phone message, letting her know that you wish to donate and she will get back to you.

Avodah takes silver!

Avodah at Coldest NightKudos to the wonderful Avodah team of walkers for the Coldest Night of the Year Walk in aid of Our Place, the place of hope and belonging on Pandora Street! The team included: new Emanu-El youth coordinator Adele Mark, Tilly, Eva & Jordan Stanger-Ross, Michael Borins, Rachel Ditor, Ana Oppenheimer, Lucy Nerenberg, Bill Johnstone, Penny Tennenhouse & Nyomi Rosen. Continue reading Avodah takes silver!

Sharing the light: Ḥanukkah 2019

Sameah Hanukkah!On December 22, 2019, a crowd gathered in Centennial Square to celebrate the first night of Ḥanukkah. The musical headliner was the high-octane and popular Victoria High Rhythm and Blues Band. After lighting a large free-standing menorah (“shout out” to Ed Walker), the music and dancing began. Holiday joy, ruaḥ (spirit) and “horas” filled the square. Participants were invited to let their inner light shine amid the darkness of the season and, at times, our troubled world. Generosity and kindness led to many donations to the Avodah “8 for 8 campaign” to support the food bank at St. John the Divine. The backdrop of the “Lights of Wonder” exhibit encouraged more attendees than usual (too many to count!) to show up at the menorah lighting. Lastly, a heartfelt thanks goes to the Downtown Victoria Business Association who partnered with us in this successful and memorable evening.
For more photos (taken by Penny Tennenhouse, Frances Aknai & Frances Rosenberg)…

Avodah serves latkes at Our Place

Now we serveAvodah got Ḥanukkah off to a delicious  and freilach start with our 7th annual well-oiled Big Latke Lunch at Our Place. Our enthusiastic, dedicated volunteers, led by our exceptional latke-maker, Daryl Levine, fried and served an amazing 600 latkes while the ever-loving spirited Klezbians once again came to the aid of the party with their joyful klezmer music including the dedication of a special song to Rabbi Harry—the Rabbi’s Hornpipe and somehow getting Rabbi Harry and Penny to sing with them! Continue reading Avodah serves latkes at Our Place

Avodah sponsors 8 for 8

1161212_avodah_8for8-2On or before December 22, 2019 — Avodah invites you to bring 8 items – one for each night of Ḥanukkah to the Menorah Lighting in Centennial Square, Sunday, December 22, 2018 at 5:00 pm or to the synagogue office during office hours.

Let’s share our abundance with the Emergency Food Service at St. John the Divine.

Suggested non-perishable, new items for donation are:
• canned fruit                                    • canned salmon
• tins of meat, chicken                    • granola bars
• condiments                                    • honey
• jam                                                   • cereal, canned milk
• chunky soups                                 • crackers
• cookies                                            • margarine
• eggs                                                  • razorsCanned goods with pull tab tops are encouraged.Thank you from the Avodah Social Action Group!

“Brrrr it’s cold out!”“Brrrr it’s cold out!”

Avodah helps 2
As the days have become shorter and the cold and wet nights longer, our thoughts are with our less fortunate, vulnerable friends in Victoria.
Presently, Avodah provides support through our ongoing commitments to these local agencies:
  • 1UP Single Parent Resource Centre
  • Burnside Gorge Community Association
  • Out of the Rain
  • Quadra Village Community Centre
Additionally Avodah has had special projects like providing fleece blankets to the Dandelion Society and delivering hundreds of pairs of underwear to numerous small groups.
We rely on the generosity of congregants and friends to continue this work and to increase our commitments.
Please consider making an end-of-year donation to our shul’s social action group, Avodah.

Avodah provides QVDP youth snacks

Jackie & Penny at Youth LunchQuadra Village Drop-In Program (QVDP) for youth is one of the programs Avodah is proud to support. Avodah’s Jackie Saunders-Ritchie and Penny Tennenhouse were thrilled to be invited recently to a special delicious and healthy lunch lovingly prepared by youth in the program for funders. It was a truly wonderful, enjoyable opportunity to meet the youth and the staff at Quadra Village and get to know them and their program better.

Avodah’s funding goes towards providing snacks for this program which runs two days a week Thursday and Friday for three hours each evening. The QVDP is for youth ages 10-18. An average of 20 youth comes to these two drop-ins on Thursday and Friday.

Tara Skobel, the Youth Program Coordinator says, “We have seen an increase of younger youth who are accessing our centre. These youth come hungry and rely on us for support and food. Your funding really helps us provide food for these youth in need during our drop-in hours.

With your help we have been able to continue making full meals for the youth and providing healthy snack opportunities. They appreciate the options we provide which would not be possible without your generous donation! Your donation makes not only a huge difference in this program but in our youths’ lives! Thank you so much for your support!

Harbour Cats•Emanu-El•Anwim House Fundraiser a Success!

Anawim Sock Toss

On Monday July 10, 2019 Harbour Cats baseball game there was a fundraiser “homer sock toss”. Socks provided by Emanu-El were sold for $2 to the fans for the toss and redistributed by Anawim House to the needy following the game. The evening was a huge success and raised over $1000 for Anawim House. In the words of Terry Edison-Brown, Director, Anawim House, “It would not have been possible without the gracious donation of 260 pairs of socks from the Congregation Emanu-El. It is this type community support that is so important in helping Anawim help those that want to make change in their lives. Thank you so much.”