When it comes to tzedakah, priorities are a must. The halachah is clear: “Aniyei ircha kodem,” the struggling families in our own community must be our first priority. Even in an affluent area like ours, more people than you probably realize cannot afford the basic necessities to feed their families. Imagine having to worry that your child will go to sleep hungry. Imagine not being able to put chicken on your table for the honor of Shabbos. It is the job of Tomchei Shabbos Yad Yeshaya to ensure that no family in our neighborhood lacks these basics.A new and easy way to help Tomchei Shabbos Yad Yeshaya year round has now been set up. “A Time for Change” with TD Bank gives you an opportunity to do a great mitzvah while getting rid of the loose change lying around your house.
Anyone can bring in their extra change whenever the bank (at Cedarhurst Avenue and Central Avenue) is open, Sunday-Friday, and easily pour it into a machine located in the front of the bank lobby. The machine will automatically count the change. Simply hand a teller the receipt and tell her that it is for Tomchei Shabbos. All proceeds go directly to Tomchei Shabbos Yad Yeshaya and you will gain the merit of feeding a hungry family for Shabbos.
Tomchei Shabbos/Yad Yeshaya provides Shabbos food for over 195 families weekly all over Far Rockaway and the Five Towns. This branch raises funding locally and spends virtually every dollar on food. Other neighborhoods have Tomchei Shabbos branches as well, but do not fund this one. Our Tomchei Shabbos is named for Yeshaya Alpert, z’l, and is staffed by volunteers who run the organization, pack and deliver the boxes, and raise the funds. Among these wonderful volunteers are TAG girls who pack every week, even during school vacations; Ari Schonbrun and the Katz family, who do a huge distribution for Pesach; and many dedicated drivers, who show up weekly in all kinds of weather to get the packages out.
The prescreened recipients of packages range from the unemployed to single parents and the elderly. Every Thursday night they discreetly receive a package which consists of chicken, challah, grape juice, potatoes, and other basics so that they no longer have to worry about how they will feed their families on Shabbos. Tomchei Shabbos struggles to meet the annual budget of over $300,000 so that they don’t disappoint these families.
The next time you open a drawer full of change, think of all the chickens it can buy for someone’s Shabbos table. That bowl in which your husband drops his spare change every night can turn into challah and grape juice for someone’s Shabbos table. Now all of those jars, cups, and drawers full of coins that have been sitting in your house for years can be put to good use. Small children (and maybe some of us adults too) will delight in dumping the change in a machine and seeing its surprising value. As you clean for Pesach, you can clean up those coins from the cracks in your couch and car, and put them to good use.
Mr. Romano, the branch manager of TD Bank, has set aside today, Sunday, March 29, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., as Tomchei Shabbos day at the bank. Stop by for free coffee and goodies and give your change to benefit our hungry neighbors. If today is not convenient, you can still bring your change to the bank year round, whenever you are in Cedarhurst. It’s conveniently located at the corner of Cedarhurst Avenue and Central Avenue.
For more information you can contact Mrs. Jeanette Lamm at 718-327-7283. Checks for more substantial donations are always welcome, and can be mailed to Tomchei Shabbos Yad Yeshaya, 634 Oak Drive, Far Rockaway, NY 11691.