What Social Action Committee Does
Over the years, a combination of congregants’ efforts, donations to our Louis & Bettye Kaplan Social Action Fund, and contributions to the tzedakah box in the synagogue lobby have helped numerous organizations that fight homelessness, poverty and hunger; support Jewish causes in the US and worldwide; and improve the environment, health, education, and socio-economic status of disadvantaged individuals.
The Social Action Committee works to achieve balanced support for a blend of social action causes and to include as many members of Etz Chaim in this work as possible. We encourage Tikkun Olam by giving congregants opportunities to roll up their sleeves and give to others through their own hard work on many programs and through donations to the Louis and Bettye Kaplan Social Action Fund and the lobby tzedakah box.
Here are some ways we make a difference:
Feed the Hungry and House the Homeless
- We donate our time and resources to host a weekly PADS* homeless shelter in the Etz Chaim Social Hall (* PADS = Public Action to Deliver Shelter)
- We donate food and money to the People’s Resource Center, a food and clothing pantry and job skills center in Wheaton
- We furnish apartments for PADS shelter residents who are moving into their own place
- We raise funds for PADS through participation in CROP Walk
- We provide ongoing support to Walk-In Ministries which provides emergency assistance to people in need in our community
- We make Rosh Hashanah and Passover baskets for needy Jews in the area through Maot Chitim
- We helped defray the cost for Etz Chaim High School students to attend Panim el Panim, a program in Washington DC that brings together diverse groups of 10th-12th grade students from around the country to explore public policy and social activism through a Jewish lens
- We sponsored Make a Difference Day for congregants to help people in need by making items to brighten their day
- We provide networking opportunities for people seeking employment
- We host panel discussions on topics of local interest
- With Etz Chaim membership in DuPage United, we represent our congregants’ views on social action in DuPage County, with special emphasis on health, housing, education and jobs, and work to ensure government funding for social programs.
- We collect old cell phones to support Family Shelter Services, a domestic abuse shelter for women
- We support an arts program to help the girls at the Illinois Youth Center in Warrenville, a prison for girls ages 14-18, address and overcome the experiences that helped land them in the prison
- We held a shoe drive; the money raised from the sale of the shoes in Africa will be used to send AIDS orphans to school in Tanzania
- We made donations to Cause & Affect Foundation and 100 Friends, organizations that re-grant our donations or purchase specific items for people in economically disadvantaged parts of the world
Jewish Organizations and Israel
- We support the Jewish United Fund with our annual JUF brunch and speaker fundraiser
- We support or sister Jewish community in the city of Kanev, Ukraine
- In 2007, through our Bomba Israel project, we supported Diaspora Jews who are at risk in many parts of the world today
- A newly formed Israel Subcommittee ties together Temple programs related to Israel
- We sponsor a Martin Luther King Jr program every year to foster discussion on civil rights and other issues
- We sponsor blood and bone marrow drives
Environment and Natural Disasters
- We make donations from the Social Action Fund to help victims of natural disasters such as the 2008 Midwest floods, Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, Nashville flooding, and Pakistan flooding, and human-made disasters including the Gulf oil spill.
- We sponsor local Forest Preserves and the Prairie Path clean-ups
Social Action is Action YOU Can Do
The Social Action Committee meets the first Tuesday of every month, 7:30-9:00 PM, and welcomes all congregants. Come to a meeting to learn what we do and how you can get involved. Contact Mimi Binette with questions or to get involved.