Giving Back

From The Daily Local

By ERIC S. SMITH, Staff Writer


WEST CHESTER — A local synagogue held a Christmas lunch for some of the less fortunate residents in the community on Friday.


Kesher Israel, located on the 1000 block of Pottstown Pike, hosted the lunch at the Salvation Army in West Chester and has been doing so for at least eight years, according to organizer Babs Winicur.


“Christmas is not our holiday, but we know it’s really important to a lot of people,” Winicur said.


The lunch was organized in conjunction with the Tikkun Olam committee at Kesher Israel. Tikkun Olam translates to “repairing the world.”


“Most of the community activities at Kesher are dedicated to making the world a better place,” Winicur said. “On Christmas, we try to do something, so that our Christian friends can have the day off to be with their family.”


Volunteers also included some staff members from West Chester University, where Winicur works. All told, there were 10 volunteers putting on a lunch of ham, turkey and many traditional Christian and Jewish holiday dishes.


All the food was homemade and most of it was donated by three local grocery stores that gave the group gift cards to purchase food. Giant, Acme and Wegmans all contributed.


For Winicur, who grew up Christian, making a traditional holiday meal was not an issue.


“This is Christmas dinner,” she said. “I’ve done this.”


The event was also a Bar Mitzvah


service project for 12-year-old Matthew Warner.


“I wanted to help feed the poor and hungry,” Warner said. “I know there are people on the streets that don’t have food or homes and I wanted to help them.”


Warner not only help to set up tables and clean up, but he also cooked a few of the dishes for the diners.


Kesher Israel also does toy and toiletry drives and created a gleaning garden to contribute vegetables to the local food banks this summer, according to Winicur.


Many of the diners came from the Railton Shelter, which is the annex shelter to the Salvation Army. They were very pleased to have a hot, holiday meal.


“We are very happy these people went through the trouble and took their Christmas day to bring us a hot meal,” one diner said. “Nobody in this community needs to go hungry, because there is breakfast and dinner here every day. A lot of us depend on it and we appreciate it.”


Diners said that there was a breakfast served at the shelter that 70 people attended. Therefore, fewer than expected showed for lunch. Winicur said that they had cooked for 30 people.


“It is a blessing and not a shame that more people aren’t here,” Winicur said. “It means that everybody else had enough to eat or another place to go. This food will be eaten by whoever is here throughout the weekend. I am happy that few people are here that needed the food.”


To contact staff writer Eric S. Smith, send an e-mail to [email protected]

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