MARBLEHEAD – By collecting donated kitchen supplies from the community, Temple Sinai in Marblehead hopes to help new immigrants and refugees on the North Shore.
The kitchen shower was originally planned to run through Shavuot, but it looks like it will get an extension, according to Barbara Rosestroch, chair of the temple’s social action committee.
Donated items will benefit the New American Association of Massachusetts in Lynn, a collaborative venture that aids immigrants and refugees in a variety of ways. The immigrants’ countries of origin include Afghanistan, Haiti, and Ukraine, according to Shira Moss, a Temple Sinai member who teaches online classes at the center.
Moss cited a Jewish concept that inspired the kitchen drive as well as many other charitable endeavors at the temple: “The idea of tikkun olam, repairing the world, trying to make the world a better place.”
She said that the kitchen shower is “about providing people with essential things. Between Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Haiti, there are a lot of people that are seeking refuge and the opportunity to build lives here.”
“We’ve been getting more involved with the New American Association,” Rosenstroch said. “There are families moving [here] all the time who have absolutely nothing.”
One of the ways the association aids immigrants and refugees is by helping them “set up a kitchen once they get housing, with dishes, cutlery, spatulas, pots and pans, blenders, mixers, toasters – all sorts of stuff like that you need for a kitchen,” Rosenstroch said.
To meet this demand, a collection of items has been steadily accumulating inside Founder’s Hall at the temple.
“All the things we ask for, people are bringing it in the past couple of weeks,” Rosenstroch said.
She noted that a number of items have been specifically requested, but people also are donating can openers, colanders, casserole dishes, food processors, and dishcloths.
The kitchen drive is part of the Manna Project, a local interfaith charitable partnership that also involves Marblehead’s Clifton Lutheran Church.
In previous years, the temple had held a Shavuot-themed food drive incorporating cereal boxes – “Boxes on the Bima” – because the holiday is tied to the grain harvest in ancient Israel. However, the rising needs of immigrants served by the New American Association prompted the temple to hold a kitchen drive instead.
“It’s kind of a unique concept,” Moss said. “There are a lot of book and clothing drives … but stuff in the kitchen, stuff like appliances, cutlery, accessories, people don’t realize how necessary that stuff is, how much of it we have lying around that is extra.”
The temple holds seasonal charitable initiatives throughout the year, with book and toy drives timed for Rosh Hashanah and a warm clothing drive around Thanksgiving, each of which benefit the New American Association. A Purim-themed collection and a Passover matzoh collection both help the Jewish Family Table Food Pantry, which has a location in Marblehead. The temple also has been making donations to the Marblehead Food Pantry from harvests at its new vegetable garden in partnership with the Jewish Community Center of the North Shore preschool and SPUR, the Marblehead-based volunteering organization.