Hesed Committee during Covid
At this time, many of the organizations that we partner with and with whom our members volunteer have greater needs than ever.
“Hesed hafatzti!” (Hosea 6:6) The Prophet teaches us that God desires our pursuit of kindness. Abraham and Sarah were thought highly of by God, because they committed themselves and future generations to tzedakah. (Genesis 15:6).
The organizations we support allow us to fight racial injustice, food insecurity and help to provide the fundamental services people need to become self-sufficient or less dependent in the long-run. We encourage you to learn more about the organizations we are invested in; we feel they help us extend our hands and hearts and do the justice work that our tradition demands of us.
Or Zarua Hesed Fund. Please consider making a donation to the OZ Hesed Fund for disbursement to our partners. You may learn more about them at the links below:

Get Involved Through Or Zarua and Help Those in Need
“The Reward for Charity Depends Entirely Upon the Extent of the Kindness in it”-Talmud Bavli

In the spirit of gemilut hasadim, the Or Zarua Hesed Committee coordinates the congregation’s efforts to help those within our local community who are in need. Our primary areas of focus include homelessness, literacy and food insecurity with a focus on children and seniors. Ongoing activities and community partners include monthly meal servings at the New York Common Pantry and Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, tutoring children through Innovations for Learning, and volunteering with Dorot to help seniors.

Please contact the Hesed Committee at hesed@orzarua.org to sign up or for more information on any of the projects listed below.

Volunteers (families welcome) needed to help pack groceries at a Met Council pantry and distribute to a Senior Residence on the Upper East Side
Sunday, April 25 (last Sunday morning of each month, but May will be May 23)
If interested contact Jeff
We are working with the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) on a new project that would involve packing groceries at a Met Council pantry on Lexington Avenue and 31st Street for delivery to a Senior Residence on East 92nd Street, and then distributing those packages at the building. This project is scheduled to take place on the last Sunday morning of each month. It will probably require an hour or so to pack, some travel time to the residence and a 1/2 hour or so to distribute. Families and individuals are welcome although Met Council requires anyone at the residence to be 18 or older. There is no age restriction on packing.

New York Common Pantry: Our long-time partner has remained open and is deemed an “essential service” during the COVID-19 crisis. They are seeing huge demand for their services. The best way to help is to make a donation through our Hesed Fund. You can learn more about the Pantry here: http://nycommonpantry.org
You can also donate needed pantry staples – particularly rice and pasta – via the Pantry’s Amazon list.
NYCP has begun to take volunteers again, using a small number on day-to-day projects. As restrictions are lifted more volunteers will be asked for. Currently, we are not coordinating shifts, but if you are not at extra risk according to CDC Guidelines, don’t have anyone at home who is at high risk and are 18+ years old and feel comfortable coming in to volunteer — ideally from 9am-1pm if you are a heavy lifter or an all day shift (9am-4pm) — please reach out to Debby Lowenstein at the Pantry. Let her know you are from Or Zarua.
They have masks, gloves and hand sanitizer and the facilities are cleaned regularly.
We are looking into other organizations that our members can volunteer with by phone or computer.

Serve Up Thursday Night Pasta and Salad at NCS
NCS has partially lifted their “no volunteers on site” protocol so that we may again go into the residence on 81st Street to package the food we provide into individual portions for delivery by their staff to the residents. Donations to the Hesed Fund needed. Contact Jeff Haberman.

Visit and Bring Cheer to Ill or Home-bound OZ Congregants
Volunteer to visit and bring cheer to ill or home-bound OZ Congregants. Contact Deborah Wenger: dwenger@orzarua.org or 212-452-2310, ext 12.

Read with a Child to Support Literacy
Or Zarua started volunteering with Innovations for Learning in 2017, organizing teams of members to read with first or second graders each week during the school year.  The OZ tutors read remotely with students in the Bronx for 30 minutes weekly, connecting via phone and an online platform, TutorMate. Registration is in September each year.  To learn more, contact Lesley Palmer at hesed@orzarua.org.

Join DOROT Holiday Package Deliveries
On the Sundays before Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah and Passover, Or Zarua volunteers visit seniors in their homes and bring gift packages of traditional foods and holiday items with DOROT, a nonprofit serving senior citizens.  Holiday Package Deliveries are family friendly and a wonderful way to share the spirit and warmth of the holidays.  Contact Miriam Quart at hesed@orzarua.org for more information.

Celebrate Purim with Project Ore
Every year Or Zarua members celebrate Purim with Project Ore on a Sunday around the holiday.‎ We hear part of the Megillah, sing, eat (of course) and enjoy spending time with some of the members of Project ORE a program for vulnerable and isolated older adults. Children’s.   In addition, during the year our Hebrew school students have served lunch to and done clothing collections for Project Ore members.

Donate to Annual Coat Drive
Help low income families and older adults in New York City by donating gently-used winter coats to OZ’s Annual Coat Drive. All coat sizes are needed. Adult-sized coats are donated to the Educational Alliance for their older adult population through Project ORE, a program for vulnerable and isolated older adults. Children’s coats are donated to New York Cares or a similar program. Donations are accepted from the beginning of November until mid-December; collection bins are located in the OZ Basement.

Join OZ’s Erev Thanksgiving and Erev Christmas “Gleanings” 
Every year Or Zarua volunteers participate in our annual holiday gleaning projects–packing and delivering food donated by Eli Zabar–for our neighbors in need. Volunteers pack up surplus prepared foods, soups and baked goods at Eli’s various business locations and deliver the items to Ronald McDonald House on East 73rd Street (for families with children undergoing medical treatment), the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter residence on 81st Street, and the Salvation and Deliverance Church (on Marmion Avenue in the Bronx). Please contact Jeff Haberman at jeff32449@verizon.net or at 917-697-1677 for information.

Collections for the South Bronx Salvation and Deliverance Church
Pre-owned adult, and children’s clothing, toys, dolls, games, and related items can be put to good use by the many transitional homeless residents and families in the South Bronx. OZ partners with South Bronx Salvation and Deliverance Church, whose members are housekeepers caring for their own local needy. Contact Richard Stadin at 212-744-6697 or stadin1@aol.com to arrange for donations.