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ALIVE! Update

Hunger, ALIVE! and Agudas Achim
Let’s Eat and Let’s Provide
   Our celebrations of Judaism are intertwined with food. The quip goes, “They tried to kill us; we survived; let’s eat.” But for many people, food is no joke. In Alexandria alone,16,000 people—slightly more than 10 percent of the population—live below the poverty line. They do not have enough to eat.
   As Jews through the ages have identified with food, for 50 years our Agudas Achim community has identified with ALIVE!. By far the largest provider of food assistance in the City of Alexandria, ALIVE! disburses an average of 39,235 pounds of food a month (460,000 pounds in 2019 alone).
   And yet, with four ongoing food distribution outreach programs, ALIVE! is able to serve fewer than 20% of the city’s residents in need, because it doesn’t have enough food to do more. ALIVE! needs 1.5 tons—3,000 pounds—more food each month than contributions from all sources currently provide.
   That’s where Agudas Achim comes in. We can’t solve the problem, but we can do more than we have. We do great at Kol Nidre with the Operation Isaiah food drive—1,667 pounds in 2019. Let's keep up the good work all year. The collection bins in the coat room are always ready for a can of soup, jar of peanut butter, or bag of dry beans. 
   Hunger is not a once-a-year proposition. It goes on relentlessly, day after day after day. Thus, we need to respond day after day after day. This is not a matter of purging unwanted food from our cupboards to give to ALIVE! It’s a request that each congregant purchase just one nutritious, nonperishable food item for our neighbors in need during every grocery stop, whether we’re buying a week of supplies or a single quart of milk.
   Pirkei Avot teaches us, “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Let’s think about our own blessings and do as much of the work as we can.
Sun, September 20 2020 2 Tishrei 5781