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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 WeekCombat RacismSpecial Projects | Ongoing Initiatives

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. This year's theme is "Combating Food Scarcity" and we need your help!

Fresh Produce Drive, Sunday, April 3, 9:30-11:00am. Thank you for your donations of fresh fruits and vegetables for Food For Others, a food bank and food rescue organization working to help those who are food insecure in Northern Virginia. With your help, we collected approximately 1,000 lbs of oranges, apples, bananas, tomatoes, avocados, grapes, berries, cucumbers, celery, peppers, lettuce, eggplant, and more!

Cereal Box Topple, April 3-12. Help OT Youth topple hunger by donating cereal for Food For Others! Donate from Sunday April 3-Tuesday, April 12. On Tuesday, April 12, during OTRS at 6:00pm, we will circle the whole sanctuary with boxes of cereal and then watch them topple domino-style! The more we collect, the more fun it will be to watch them all fall! To join us on Zoom for the topple, email Erin Dreyfuss.

Chametz Drive, April 3-13. 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. ECHO's most-needed chametz items are: Muffin/Corn Meal Mix; Rice; Pasta/Spaghetti; Masa Flour; Crackers; Pancake Mix; Tortillas. Find a full list of needed items at

P3 Drive, April 3-13. Our partners at Food for Others need help to cover a shortage in their Power Pack Program (P3). P3 provides elementary school students experiencing food insecurity in our area with a pack of food that they can eat at home over the weekend. Due to an expanded program and supply chain delays, they need 20,000 meals to cover food for children over the next three weekends. To help them with the shortage, we are collecting donations of the following items (in kid-friendly, individual sizes): Mac and Cheese Cups, Chef Boyardee Cups, Hormel Completes, Tuna Cracker Kits. Or purchase food through Food for Others' Wishlist to be sent directly to Food for Others.

Holocaust Survivor Passover Basket Deliveries, Sunday, April 10, 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 10 between 10:00am-1:00pm and make their deliveries that day. If you can help with this mitzvah, please contact Social Action member, Judy Gabel.

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

Some of our special projects have been suspended during the pandemic. Please contact Erin Dreyfuss to confirm which projects are currently operating.

Afghan Refugee Support. Our Afghan allies are in immediate need of household goods that will help them in their resettlement effort. To donate items through NOVA RAFT (Resettling Afghan Families Together), please complete their furniture donation form. To volunteer, please complete and return this volunteer application form.

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

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.

Sat, May 28 2022 27 Iyyar 5782