Social Action at Ansche Chesed

From our men’s homeless shelter, which operates 365 days a year, to our many social action programs for adults, teens and families, we strive to live up to our name—to be ansche chesed, people of kindness, working to build the world through good deeds. The busy Social Action Committee hosts activities throughout the year and partners with many local charities, including the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, Habitat for Humanity, the New York Blood Center and the homeless organization, Midnight Run.

The Social Action Committee hosts both ongoing programs and special events that take place one or more times each year. Both are described below. For more information, contact SocialAction@45.55.234.230.

Ongoing Programs

Cooking for the Ansche Chesed Men’s Shelter

Throughout the year, members of the Ansche Chesed community come together to cook for the guests at our shelter, which operates 365 days a year. To learn more, contact Rabbi Yael Hammerman, Director of Congregational Learning (RabbiYael@anschechesed.org).

CSA at Ansche Chesed

Community-supported agriculture cooperatives, a k a CSAs, are groups through which people purchase shares in a farmer’s produce for an entire season, guaranteeing the farmer a secure market and gaining access to local, organic produce at competitive prices. Ansche Chesed’s CSA works with Garden of Eve, an organic farm on the North Fork of Long Island. Each week, the farm delivers vegetables, fruits, eggs, and flowers, all picked within 24 hours of delivery. Volunteers run the group and staff the pickups, which take place Wednesdays between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm at Ansche Chesed. To learn more or to register, contact CSAatAnscheChesed@gmail.com or visit www.tuvharetzcsa.com/.

Foodshare’s SNAP Challenge

Foodshare’s SNAP Challenge encourages participants to spend a week experiencing what life is like for millions of low-income Americans who live on an average daily allowance of $4.15. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, feeds millions of hungry families in America every month, and with the rising cost of food and other economic challenges, SNAP benefits are sometimes a family’s only access to food.. To learn more, contact SocialAction@45.55.234.230 or visit www.foodshare.org.

Sustainability

Our sustainability effort focuses on finding ways to make the Ansche Chesed building function in a more environmentally sustainable way, creating opportunities for members to participate in hands-on environmental projects, and educating members about our activities and about what they can do at home. We also try to model appropriate care for the environment by recycling used materials. New York City recycling bins can be found in key locations throughout the facility, we hold periodic recycling days for computers and other types of electronic equipment, and we can provide a list of locations where members can recycle used fabric and clothing. To learn more, contact Executive Director Josh Hanft (JHanft@anschechesed.org).

Panim el Panim

Panim el Panim is a 12-week, 24-session program developed by the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness & Housing for men and women who are or were homeless. Using the Life Skills Empowerment Program (LSEP) model developed by the New York Archdiocese of Catholic Charities and the Interfaith Assembly for Homelessness and Housing, Panim el Panim helps people recovering from the trauma of homelessness to develop essential life skills by sharing life stories within a supportive community. Each participant is assigned a mentor who, with the support of a professional social worker, helps the participant identify goals and develop a plan to achieve them. To learn more, contact SocialAction@anschechesed.org or visit www.iahh.org/empowerment/get-involved.

Teen Community Service

Teens interested in earning community-service credit are invited to volunteer at Ansche Chesed’s family programs throughout the year. To learn more, contact Rabbi Yael Hammerman, Director of Congregational Learning (RabbiYael@anschechesed.org).

West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH)

The West Side Campaign Against Hunger not only feeds thousands of people each year through its unique customer cooperative model, but also helps its clients access government aid, the social services they need to grow stronger, and information about nutrition. We hope you will consider supporting WSCAH with donations of food and funds. To learn more about the organization’s work, visit www.wscah.org/.

Social Action Events

Check the calendar for these events:

Blood Drives

Three times a year, Ansche Chesed sponsors blood drives through the New York Blood Center. For more information, contact SocialAction@anschechesed.org or visit http://nybloodcenter.org/

Habitat for Humanity Projects

Several times each year, Ansche Chesed members join with other New Yorkers to build homes with Habitat for Humanity. You must be 17 to participate (16, with the approval of a parent or guardian). For more information or to volunteer, please contact Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky (RJK@anschechesed.org) or visit www.habitat.org.

MLK Day of Service for Kids

Every year, Ansche Chesed holds a series of events that honor the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Past years’ activities have included cooking for the Ansche Chesed Men’s Homeless Shelter and number of related arts and crafts projects. For more information, contact Rabbi Yael Hammerman, Director of Congregational Learning (RabbiYael@anschechesed.org).

Riverside Park Clean-Up Day

Join Ansche Chesed for the synagogue’s annual Riverside Park Clean-up Day and help make Riverside Valley Community Garden, at 138th Street, beautiful again. We do a range of tasks, including weeding, spreading woodchips and mulch and raking. For more information, contact RiversideParkCleanUp@anschechesed.org.

Midnight Run

Every year Ansche Chesed collects, sorts and distributes food, clothing and toiletries to homeless New Yorkers through the Midnight Run. Donations are collected throughout the year as members use lobby drop-off bins to hold (1) new or gently used clothing (for men: pants, jeans, khakis, shorts, shirts, T-shirts, light jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts, baseball caps, belts and shoes; for women: pants, tops, light jackets, sweaters and sweatshirts); (2) sample-size toiletries; and (3) backpacks, large bins, and sturdy canvas bags. On the day of the event, volunteers gather at Ansche Chesed to sort clothes, make sandwiches and prepare individual bags of toiletries. Adults, teens and children eight and older are welcome and community service credit is available for teens. Financial donations are always welcome. To volunteer, contact MidnightRun@anschechesed.org. To learn more, visit www.midnightrun.org/.

Thousand Turkey Challenge

Each year, Ansche Chesed joins the interfaith coalition of community supporters of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger’s Thousand Turkey Challenge. In 2014, this food/tzedakah drive raised more than $34,000 and donated more than 1,000 turkeys to New York City families in need. Donations can be made online, in person, or in the form of frozen turkeys the week before Thanksgiving. To learn more about the work of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, watch this video  or visit www.wscah.org/. To learn more about Ansche Chesed’s participation in the Thousand Turkey Challenge, contact SocialAction@anschechesed.org.