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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

Click here to volunteer for Backpack Buddies. 



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.
  • 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.
  • In the summer of 2023, we launched our first Horizons classes of rising Kindergarten and 1st grade students at The Temple. This 6-week summer enrichment program is lead by professional teachers and treatred students to classroom learning, fun activities, swimming, and field trips. Temple volunteers help in the classroom, at lunch, in the pool...everywhere! We will continue building this program yearly, adding a new Kindergarten class each year. Learn more about Horizons here
  • 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.
Wed, June 19 2024 13 Sivan 5784