We received the following email from Rev Al, Executive Director Victoria Dandelion Society. We hope that you are able to assist us in responding to this great need with a contribution to Avodah.
“It’s dangerously cold outside, and lives could be at risk! This morning, as I handed out coffee to men and women with icy hands, I heard stories of people struggling to get by, unable to find shelter. The need is urgent. My street family desperately need shelter, sleeping bags and warm clothing today.
With your help, I’ll purchase items like sleeping bags, jackets and mittens to keep my street family warm. You’ll also help me to find shelter for people who are most at risk today. Please give!”
Avodah’s youngest member, Eva Stanger-Ross, wrote:
“We made 60 cookies for the Dandelion Society at our Youth Group sleepover. It was really fun! There were six kids helping. I called Reverend Al to tell him and he was so happy and thankful. Although nobody can ever make enough cookies, he said we were making a big difference and that homeless people would really enjoy them. A big thanks to Julie and Howie Herzog for hosting and dropping off the cookies. Without them it would not have been possible.”
February 28 — Bake or buy delicious cookies for distribution through Victoria Dandelion Society to people living on the street. Proper observance of Purim includes Matanot l’evyonim (gifts to the poor).
As this most joyous holiday approaches we are calling on bakers, buyers and cookie monsters to bring your treats to the synagogue on or before Wednesday, February 28, or in March to Penny Tennenhouse’s home.
Thank you and Hag Purim Sameaḥ from Avodah Social Action Committee.
Reverend Allen Tysick of the Dandelion Society writes:
Penny and friends at Emanu-El Congregation,
you for the cookies, for the Dandelion Society. Your generosity and
thoughtfulness always astounds me.
have donated sleeping bags, and blankets, clothing and now cookies. As I give your
gifts to the homeless every morning, I
wish you could see their faces or the thankfulness in their voices; your gifts
mean a lot to them.
have always supported my work among the weakest, the most vulnerable, the sick
and most needy men and women that live on the street.
fact the truth be known is your congregation has supported me better than any
other congregation. I deeply thank you for this. It moves me to realize that
you have caught a hold of my vision of loving those who many others have given
is with great gratitude that I thank you for your dedication and especially
your recent gifts of the cookies
Rev Al, simply put, is a lifesaver to Victoria’s most vulnerable and right from the get go, our own Avodah has been a strong supporter. No stranger to poverty in his youth, Rev Al was one of the prime movers behind Our Place and was the director from its inception in 2007 until 2011, when he left to found the Dandelion Society.
With Dandelion, Rev Al and his dedicated volunteers are truly at the sharp end of poverty in our city, a position incorporated into Dandelion’s Mission Statement:
We live out our mission by being present in the places that shelter those who are forgotten, those who have fallen through the cracks of the system. We don’t have an office, instead we do all our work on the streets, in hospitals, and in jails, meeting those who are homeless wherever they are.
You will be moved to tears of sorrow and tears of laughter by Rev Al’s stories; you may be surprised to hear his views, grounded in hard experience, regarding our current welfare system and why it is so obviously failing; you may be inspired by his sense of hope and by his suggestions as to what each of us can do to improve that system.
Rev Al’s talk will be followed by question time then a chance to meet and engage with him personally, over tea and cookies. In honour of Rev Al and the work he does – all donations received will go to the Dandelion Society.
Please do your best to spread the word about this important talk and of course – we hope to see you there.