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...and teach them to your children—reciting them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up; (Deut. 11:19)

Group Chairs: Stacey Berg         Clergy Liaison: Rabbi Lydia Medwin




The RSJI Public Education group works to support financially disadvantaged children at local elementary schools. Our Backpack Buddies program helps ensure that these children have nutritious meals on the weekends when they are not receiving free lunch or breakfast at school. This year, we are supporting students at Toomer Elementary School, Sarah Smith Elementary School, and Burgess-Peterson Academy.  Each Friday, 143 children go home with a nondescript black bag filled with non-perishable food items for the weekend. These children are confidentially selected by the school administration and school social worker. 

Volunteers are key to the success of this program. We’d love to have you join us! You can help with packing bags, picking up food from our supplier, or delivering to our schools. If you are interested or want more information, please contact Stacey Berg.

Our goals are:
  • To provide resources directly to the students of Toomer Elementary school, including holiday gifts, school supplies, and tutoring.
  • To educate our Temple community about the major issues facing public school education and the students and teachers.
  • To monitor legislation that affects our public schools.
How we accomplish these goals:
  • In the Fall, we partner with Toomer Elementary to provide students and the school with the materials they need through a supply drive. We collect the supplies through outreach to our religious school families. Supplies are collected and delivered over the course of two weeks in August/September.
  • For the holiday season, we host Project Gift, which is a holiday gifting program for Toomer, as well as Hope Hill in the 2019 holiday season. Project Gift enables the students access to a "gift store" where they use the merit points acquired over the course of the year to purchase new gifts for members of their family. Project Gift requires the gifts be purchased for others to encourage the spirit of giving. Thanks to generous donations, we provide a variety of brand new gifts for the students to give to their loved ones, in addition to something small for the students themselves.
  • Members of The Temple have been mentoring students at Toomer Elementary School for many years. Mentors are required to commit to one lunch period per week with students assigned to them by an in school outreach program. Mentors can bring their students lunch and are asked to engage in discussions promoting self-esteem, problem solving, and positive impact and respect. No teaching experience is necessary, simply a willingness to be present for students.
  • We partner with the Women’s Rights group and the Homelessness group to throw a Period Pack Party, a gathering in which donated feminine supplies are sorted and packed into distributable packages. This program began after we realized that many young women were missing a week of school each month for lack of these essential supplies.
  • We partner with the Backpack Buddies, alongside the RSJI: Homelessness group, to provide students in public schools with backpacks full of food to feed their families. Each week, backpacks are packed full of canned foods and dropped off at schools that have been identified as serving the students at greatest risk of hunger.
Sat, April 1 2023 10 Nisan 5783