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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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December Projects | Combat RacismSpecial Projects | Ongoing Initiatives

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.

Christmas Toy Drive, donate by December 1. OT’s newest Christmas outreach partner is the Committee for Helping Others (CHO), which supports the working poor. CHO will be setting up a drive-thru “Christmas Store” in the Vienna First Presbyterian Church parking lot to distribute gift cards from Target and Walmart for parents to purchase toys for their children. You can help in two ways:
1. Purchase Target and/or Walmart gift cards ($25 and $50 cards are the easiest for CHO to work with, but they accept any denomination)
2. Contribute by check (made payable to The Committee for Helping Others with "toy drive" in the memo).
Please send all gift cards and checks by December 1 to OT Social Action Committee member, Jim Finkel, at 4924 Gloxinia Court, Annandale, VA, 22003. If you have questions regarding this project, please email Jim Finkel.

Blood Drive, Sunday, December 12, 8:00am-2:00pm. Every two seconds, someone in the US needs blood. OT makes it easy for you to donate to help maintain the blood supply in our area. The blood supply is at such a critical level, that the blood we collect Sunday will be at a hospital saving a life of a patient within 48 hours. Due to the lack of blood on our shelves, we will try to accept walk-ins accordingly. Come to OT to give whole blood, double red cells, or platelets. To learn more, contact Lori Zobler at or (732) 266-9609. Register at using Sponsor Code 3124. The blood drive will take place in the Social Hall. When you arrive, please access the Social Hall by following the path around the building past the playground and use the stairs or ramp to the lower level.

Shoeboxes for SOME, donate by December 15. 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.

ECHO Warm Clothing Drive, donate by December 15. Please donate new or gently used coats and other winter clothing (adult and children's sizes) in the main lobby coat room through December 15 to help those in need in our community. Please note that ECHO can only accept NEW socks and underwear. Want to go the extra mile? Volunteer to drive our collection to ECHO at 7205 Old Keene Mill Road, Springfield, VA 22150. ECHO's donation hours are Monday-Friday, 9:30am-12:30pm and Tuesday/Thursday 7:00-9:00pm. Email Erin Dreyfuss to be a volunteer driver. We are proud to support our partners at ECHO in their work to help those in need in our community, particularly those suffering the effects of long-term poverty and those experiencing an emergency need.

Donations for the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter, donate by December 15. Help us support the residents of the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter this winter by donating any of the following items: shampoo, body wash, all purpose cleaning spray, NEW children's underwear, and/or $25 gift cards to gas stations, grocery stores, or Target/Walmart.

Afghan Refugee Support. Our Afghan allies are in immediate need of household goods that will help them in their resettlement effort. We have an opportunity to supply them with these  items through this Amazon wishlist. The items you purchase will be sent to Lutheran Social Services, which will distribute these items to the Afghan families settling in our area. Looking for more ways to help Afghan refugees? Support HIAS' ongoing work protecting refugees worldwide. Click here to learn more about opportunities to help Afghan refugees with HIAS.

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.

Special Projects

Our special projects have been suspended during the pandemic. Please check out our Social Action in Isolation options above for ways to help our community during this time. We look forward to resuming the projects below when it is safe to do so.

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-aged students in our area with a pack of food that they can bring home and eat 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

Our ongoing outreach programs have been suspended during the pandemic. Please check out our Social Action in Isolation options above for ways to help our community during this time. We look forward to resuming the projects below when it is safe to do so.

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.

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.

Monthly Interfaith Dinner Olam Tikvah members enjoy dining at various local restaurants with congregants of other religions. It is an opportunity to meet, interact informally with people of other faiths, and build new friendships, while experiencing excellent food. Please contact Judith Shamir if you are interested in participating.

Other interfaith events are planned throughout the year. Please contact Eric Rothberg if you are interested.

Tuna Casseroles for So Others May Eat Every month, synagogue members prepare and deliver tuna casseroles to So Others Might Eat (SOME). SOME is an interfaith, community-based organization that exists to help the poor and homeless of our nation’s capital. Simply prepare the casserole according to this recipe, freeze it and drop it off at OT on the third Wednesday of the month, no later than 8:00pm.

We also need drivers to help deliver the casseroles to SOME on Thursday mornings. If you are interested in this one-time commitment please call Leona Shoon at (703) 425-1880.


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

Mon, November 29 2021 25 Kislev 5782