Despite pandemic, agencies distribute High Holiday cards, food to seniors


Every year before the High Holidays, volunteers from South Florida Jewish organizations visit homebound seniors to not only distribute food and/or greeting cards, but also spend time with them.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented quality time and meaningful conversations between volunteers and seniors this year, the organizations are still having their distributions with drop-offs.

For years, the National Council of Jewish Women Southeast Atlantic Section – which covers Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Boynton Beach – has visited local assisted living facilities during this time each year for the Holiday on Wheels program. The volunteers celebrate the holidays with the residents and share share stories, music and food.

This year, the volunteers have created almost 500 handwritten personal Rosh Hashanah greeting cards, as well as honey sticks wishing the residents a sweet new year, that will be dropped off at the facilities right before the High Holidays, which begin on the evening of Sept. 18.

“I think for the residents of these communities, this project really feels like someone is connecting with them in a way that they haven’t been able to for a while,” said Suzy Isaacson, NCJW’s Southeast Atlantic Section’s vice president for community service.

Contact Isaacson at 818-314-7617 for information on volunteer opportunities.

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services anticipates that 100 teams of volunteers will drop off meals at the doors of more than 300 seniors’ homes in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Highland Beach from 10-11 a.m. on Sept. 13.

“Each year through the Jacobson Family Food Pantry, Rales JFS distributes kosher holiday meals to homebound seniors in our community,” said Danielle Hartman, the agency’s president and chief executive officer. “This year, these meals are extra special, since so many seniors have been staying safely at home and are beginning to show signs of isolation and depression.”

Visit to register or call 561-852-3333 for more information.
Jewish Community Services of South Florida presents its annual Milk & Honey food distribution for homebound seniors throughout Miami-Dade County on Sept. 13. Volunteers can drive by the pickoff locations at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami Beach or the Alper JCC in Miami and travel to the seniors’ homes to make contactless front door deliveries.

“During these challenging times, JCS’ Milk & Honey event is a unique opportunity to show our collective commitment to creating healthy communities by delivering nutritionally balanced meals to homebound seniors and Holocaust survivors,” said Jonathan Raiffe, JCS’ board chair.

Visit to register or contact Laura Peimer at 305-403-6542 or for more information.

Chabad Lubavitch of Fort Lauderdale hosts its annual Loaves of Love event at 6 p.m. on Sept. 14 at its social hall. For this event, women bake challah and pack High Holiday packages for hospital patients and assisted living residents. This year, temperatures will be taken upon arrival, masks and gloves are required and volunteers must be six feet from each other.

“This year, it’s more important than ever for people to come together for this project,” said Gitty Levin, the event’s coordinator. “Over the past six months, we’ve lacked the social connections and we’ve lacked being together in the same room in the same place to do a project together.”

Contact Levin at 954-568-1190 or for more information.

Ferd & Gladys Alpert Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Volunteer Center of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County and the Kind Kitchen of Palm Beach have teamed up for the United Rosh Hashanah Meal Drive taking place from Sept.17-18. Volunteers will wear masks and gloves, and practice social distancing when they deliver the holiday meals to seniors in Boynton Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, and West Palm Beach. Registration to volunteer is required by Sept. 11 at Visit or call 561-596-7539 to sponsor a meal. Call 561-684-1991 for more information.

Goodman Jewish Family Services of Broward County’s Dorit and Ben J. Genet Cupboard traditionally distributes a round of challah, grape juice, memorial candles, Shabbat candles, honey and apples to all of its clients before the High Holidays begin. This year’s deliveries are contactless.

High Holiday package have also been added to the regular groceries that Goodman JFS provides to more than 500 families. The food is being distributed through Sept. 17. Holocaust survivors benefiting from the Cupboard’s services have also received their items during the first week of the month, along with a Jewish calendar and honey cake. The agency has also partnered with synagogues throughout Broward County on a kosher food drive for the Cupboard. Congregants can place their donations in marked boxes, which will be collected during a contactless pick up.

Randy Kominsky, the agency’s CEO, said volunteers are properly fitted with personal protective equipment and there are temperate checks. He praises the volunteers for their efforts.

“They are selfless, they want to help and they know it’s a mitzvah,” Kominsky said. “We’d like more volunteers so we can spread the mitzvah to more people and families.”

Visit or call 954-370-2140 regarding volunteer opportunities.

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