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Social Action

OT's Social Action program is committed to tikkun olam (repairing the world) and projects are done throughout the year to benefit our community.

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Good Deeds WeekDecember ProjectsSpecial Projects | Ongoing Initiatives | Combat Racism

Good Deeds Week

Olam Tikvah is proud to participate in Good Deeds Week to sponsor projects that help those in need in our community. Federation’s Good Deeds Week is made possible by Drs. Ellen & Stuart Lessans, in loving memory of Sara & Samuel J. Lessans.

Electronics & Metal Recycling, Sunday, April 7, 8:45-10:15am in the OT parking lot

Men's Club and the OT Green Initiative are here to help you keep the environment clean and safely dispose of your electronics and metals. See the list of acceptable recycling materials here.

Personal Care Kits for the residents of the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter
Donate in the main lobby donation bench through Sunday, April 7
Assemble Kits Sunday, April 7, 9:45-11:45am

Donate personal care items to the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. We are collecting items through Sunday, April 7, when we will assemble them into kits as part of our Good Deeds Week projects.
General Care: Body Wash (most important), Deodorant, Razors, Q-Tips
Hair Care: Shampoo, Conditioner, Brushes
Feminine Hygiene: Tampons and Sanitary Pads
Dental Care: Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Dental Floss
Towels: bath, hand and washcloths

Mother's Day Bracelets for Katherine Hanley Family Shelter
Sunday, April 7, 9:45-11:45am

Make beaded bracelets for the moms at Katherine Hanley Family Shelter to help them celebrate Mother's Day.

Community Good Deeds Day
Sunday, April 7, 1:30-3:30pm
At Gesher Jewish Day School

Looking for more projects in the afternoon? Head to Gesher for a community-wide Good Deeds Day and Kids Concert. Olam Tikvah Preschool will host a project booth, along with many other opportunities to do good in our community. Register here for Gesher's Good Deeds Day.

Chametz Drive, April 7-14 in the main lobby donation bench

Cleaning out your house for Passover? Donate your unopened chametz to ECHO, an all-volunteer organization that gives food and financial help to people in need. Drop off your donations in the main lobby donation bench from April 7-14. ECHO's most-needed chametz items are: spaghetti, crackers, pancake mix, cereal, ramen and tortillas. Find a full list of needed items at

Holocaust Survivor Passover Basket Deliveries, Sunday, April 14, 10:00am-1:00pm. We are partnering with JSSA to deliver Passover baskets (with wine, matzah, etc) to Holocaust survivors in Northern Virginia. We need about 25 volunteer drivers to deliver 2 baskets each. Drivers will pick up baskets at OT on Sunday, April 14 at 10:00am and make their deliveries that day. If you can help with this mitzvah, please contact Social Action member, Judy Gabel.

December Outreach Projects

In this season of thanksgiving, we are thankful for all we have and look for ways to give back to our community. Join us in participating in our many Social Action projects throughout the season to bring joy to others.

Shoeboxes for SOME, donate by Tuesday, December 19. Help provide Christmas gifts to the homeless by packing a shoebox with necessities to donate to So Others Might Eat (SOME). Each box should include: 1 hat, 1 pair of gloves, 1 scarf, 1 pair of socks, 1 pair of underwear, 1 deodorant, 1 soap, 1 shampoo, 1 lotion, 1 toothbrush and 1 toothpaste. For men and women, please also include 2 razors, and for women 5 sanitary napkins and/or tampons. For children, please include 1 small toy or gift. Please wrap the lid and box separately and label each box MAN, WOMAN, BOY or GIRL.

Donations for the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter, donate by Thursday, December 21. Help us support the residents of the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter this winter by donating any of the following items: NEW stuffed animals; NEW socks for men, women and children (regular or warm and fuzzy); and/or $25 gift cards to grocery stores or Target/Walmart. Donations may be left in the main lobby.

Katherine Hanley Christmas Brunch, prepare food before Monday, December 25. For the 15th year, Olam Tikvah will provide a warm, homemade Christmas breakfast for the families staying at the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter on Christmas morning! If you would like to help prepare quiches, casseroles or other homemade goods at your home beforehand, contact Mimi Krauss.

Hypothermia Shelter at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Monday December 25 and Wednesday, December 27. Volunteer with the Pozez JCC at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church (next to the JCC) Hypothermia Shelter, which will house people who are homeless in their church during Christmas week. Sign up here.

Special Projects

Please contact Social Action Chair Clare Bachner to confirm which projects are currently operating.

Blood Drives. Each winter and spring, we sponsor an INOVA blood drive to help the community. Please take part in this wonderful mitzvah at our synagogue and help support the constant need for blood donations. Requirements: Weigh 110 lbs, be in good health, be 17 years of age (16 with parental consent form completed), be at least 56 days since your last whole blood donation. Olam Tikvah's sponsor code is 3124. You can give at select INOVA blood donation centers. To learn more, contact Lori Zobler.

Food For Others/Power Pack Program (P3). Food For Others is a local non-profit food bank and food rescue operation serving Fairfax and Arlington Counties. The Power Pack Program provides elementary school students experiencing food insecurity in our area with a pack of food that they can eat at home over the weekend. To support this effort throughout the year, please drop off any of the following items in the donation bench in the main lobby:

  • Mac & Cheese cups,
  • Tuna/Chicken Salad kits with crackers,
  • Pasta cups,
  • Chef Boyardee microwave cups, etc.,
  • 100% Fruit juice boxes or Capri Sun juice pouches,
  • Shelf stable milk
  • Please: no glass containers

To make a monetary contribution to the Power Pack Program to help us buy items to complete each pack, send a check to Olam Tikvah with Power Pack in the memo line. For more information, contact Shari Boyett.

Chanukah Outreach. We have special Chanukah celebrations at The Virginian and at the Brown/Berish Group Home. To volunteer, contact Clare Bachner.

Christmas Shoeboxes for So Others Might Eat (SOME). Help provide Christmas gifts to the homeless by packing a shoebox with necessities to donate to SOME. Click here for a full list of shoebox items.

Christmas Gifts for the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. Donate small stuffed animals for children and gloves and socks for adults at the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. Donations can be left during the month of December in the collection box in the main lobby. To learn more, contact Mimi Krauss.

Christmas Eve Shelter. Each year, an area church opens its doors to the homeless on Christmas Eve and our Social Action Committee provides volunteers for the evening. In 2019, the shelter will be at Messiah United Methodist Church, 6215 Rolling Rd. Volunteers are needed for the overnight and early morning shifts. To volunteer, contact Clare Bachner.

Christmas Breakfast at the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. Prepare food for Christmas breakfast at the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. Volunteers are needed to make quiche and other breakfast foods in advance, and to make pancakes and serve residents at the breakfast. To volunteer, contact Mimi Krauss.

Christmas Meals on Wheels. Take the place of normally-scheduled Meals on Wheels volunteers on Christmas Day so that they can enjoy Christmas with their families. To volunteer, contact Clare Bachner.

Martin Luther King Day Interfaith Outreach. Every year, OT partner with congregants from other churches and mosques to buy, prepare and serve food to people residing in the Bailey’s Shelter. Click here to learn more. Please contact Eric Rothberg if you are interested.

Valentine's Day Party. OT congregants provide an activity-filled party for the children residing at the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter. To volunteer, contact Mimi Krauss.

Hypothermia Project. For the past several years, local churches in Fairfax County under the direction of F.A.C.E.T.S. (Fairfax Assistance Community Emergency Transit Services) take turns housing people who are homeless in their church for a week. They provide overnight shelter and meals throughout the winter season from November to mid-March. Congregation Olam Tikvah partners with Lord of Life and helps them for the first Sunday night to Monday morning coverage during the week they are assigned. To volunteer, contact Clare Bachner, or click here to learn more.

Help Our People Everywhere (OT’s Passover Meals on Wheels). Under the direction of the B’nai B’rith International Project H.O.P.E., OT congregants volunteer to drive Passover meals to Jews in our community who are experiencing financial difficulties. This community action project’s major goal is the collection and distribution of food packages to poor and elderly Jews during Pesach. Many Jews who cannot afford special holiday foods depend on B'nai B'rith members to provide matzah and the other Passover staples. To these people the remembrance is often as special as the needed food. To volunteer, contact Judy Gabel.

Chametz Food Drive. Each year before Passover, OT congregants donate their unopened chametz to Food For Others, our local food bank that is always in need of donated food boxes and cans.

Passover Outreach. We hold special Passover services at The Virginian and at the Brown/Berish Jewish Group Home.

Good Deeds Day. Each year at Congregation Olam Tikvah, our congregants and volunteers from Social Action, Men’s Club, Sisterhood, Religious School, Preschool, and youth groups participate in the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington's Sara & Samuel J. Lessans Good Deeds Day. We work on projects that help those in need in our community. In the past our projects included Sisterhood knitting for the Linus Project, making tuna casseroles for S.O.M.E., Men’s Club distribution of Yom HaShoah candles, Social Action making sandwiches for Bailey’s Crossroads Homeless Shelter, providing brunch for the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter, the preschool providing diapers for babies at Katherine Hanley Family Shelter, and the Religious School making get well cards for children at Fairfax Hospital. Click here to learn more about last year's projects.

Gleaning at Farmers' Markets. On Sundays from May-October, OT volunteers glean food from the various Farmers’ Markets and then transport fresh vegetables and fruits to the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter, Bailey’s Shelter, Food For Others, and other places where people are given fresh fruits and vegetables that they would not otherwise be able to have. Click here to read about OT's gleaning program in the Washington Jewish Week. For more information or to volunteer, contact Marc Berman.

Ongoing Social Action Outreach

Please contact Social Action Chair Clare Bachner to confirm which projects are currently operating.

Brown/Berish Jewish Group Home Jewish Holidays are celebrated throughout the year at the Brown/Berish Group Home. The residents enjoy celebrating the holidays with services, activities, and food.

Tuna Casseroles for Embry Rucker Shelter. Every month, synagogue members prepare and deliver tuna casseroles to the Embry Rucker Shelter in Reston. The Embry Rucker Community Shelter (ERCS) is a 70-bed residential shelter that provides healthy, safe, emergency housing for individuals and families. To learn more, contact casserole coordinator Carol Shaman.

Soup for the Soul, Wednesdays, December-February. Our soup for the soul initiative meets weekly during the winter months in the OT kitchen to prepare and deliver soup to our elderly and home-bound members. To learn more, contact soup coordinator Barbra Golub.

Reading Mentors The Annandale Terrace Elementary School is in need of reading mentors. OT has participated in this outreach for the past 15 years. The commitment is for one hour a week  during the school day. The hour is decided by you in conjunction with the teacher's schedule. It is a wonderful program and the children benefit greatly from this individual attention. Please contact Clare Bachner if you are interested or have any questions about becoming a reading mentor.

The Virginian For many years, Olam Tikvah congregants have volunteered at The Virginian, a residential facility for Seniors in need of assistance. We provide twice a month Shabbat services to the residents there. In addition, special foods and services are celebrated for Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah and Passover. Please contact Elana Plotnick if you are interested in participating.

Combating Racism

Our society needs tikkun olam right now. Help us take steps toward repairing the world by joining our Social Action Sub-Committee on Racism. We share resources with one another with the goal of better understanding the difficult topic of race for ourselves and explore ways to present meaningful, significant materials and learning opportunities to the OT community. To join the committee, email Clare Bachner.

Click here to learn more about the historical marker that Olam Tikvah and our partner organizations have sponsored on Little River Turnpike commemorating the slave trade.

Interfaith Communities for Dialogue Statement Against Racism

Olam Tikvah has joined on in signing the ICD letter which states that as a network of faith-based and associated organizations, Interfaith Communities for Dialogue (ICD) promotes mutual understanding and positive relationships among diverse people in and around Fairfax County. In our respective faiths, and in our ICD mission, we promote the values of inclusiveness, integrity, mutual respect and trust of ALL people. The full letter can be read here.


For questions about any of our Social Action projects, contact Social Action Chair, Clare Bachner.

Sun, July 14 2024 8 Tammuz 5784