Image of Christmas Day meal distributionChristmas Meal Mitzvah!

Falmouth Jewish Congregation and Waquoit Church Hand Out Over 400 Meals Christmas Day

[From the Falmouth Enterprise – 12/31/21]

The Falmouth Jewish Congregation and Waquoit Congregational Church teamed up again this Christmas Day to provide more than 400 cooked dinners to families in the community, making this their second year of successful drive-thru meal distributions.

Pre-pandemic, the Jewish congregation hosted an in-person Christmas dinner where members of the community could come together to enjoy a home-cooked meal. But in the age of COVID, the congregation partnered with Waquoit Congregational Church to transition the sit-down meal to a drive-thru distribution service that provided freshly prepared meals to anyone who was interested while maintaining safety measures against COVID.

This year, even with rainy weather, the two faith-based organizations were able to hand out about 430 packaged meals to anyone who wanted one.

“We take one day at a time and we don’t let the pandemic stop us from helping others or helping our neighbors,” said the Reverend Nell Fields of Waquoit Congregational Church. “For the past two years, our friends at The Buffalo Jump have helped us by preparing this meal for us. Laura Higgins and her mother, Annie Connor-Higgins, have been terrific to work with. They’ve got hearts of gold.”

The Falmouth Service Center donated a good portion of the food, and once The Buffalo Jump team finished cooking and packing, the meals were picked up by volunteers and brought to Falmouth Jewish Congregation on Hatchville Road, then distributed. Over the course of the morning and early afternoon, hundreds of packed turkey dinners were given out. The meal featured turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, carrots and a package of cookies baked by volunteers from both organizations.

“It’s always so fulfilling to work side-by-side with our faith partners,” Ms. Fields said. “We’ve been doing a lot over the years, our two congregations have done a lot together and it’s just one more example of how we can help other neighbors when we work together for a common cause.”

Esther Kaplan, a member of Jewish Congregation’s Social Justice Committee, was instrumental in the organization and distribution of meals. She explained that anyone who signed up to receive a meal was able to come and pick up their order, no questions asked.

“I got several calls and emails thanking everybody and saying the food was wonderful,” she said. “People were very appreciative. Hopefully people had a nice dinner. It was fun.”

FJC and WCC also delivered meals to the police and fire stations, as well as to people at Belonging to Each Other, a nonprofit volunteer organization that provides temporary housing and other services to the homeless population in Falmouth.

“It was really a labor of love,” Ms. Kaplan said. “I just find such a sense of community here, I think it’s wonderful. We have a lot of people who are involved and a lot of people who gave their time.”

Ms. Kaplan also said she hopes that in the future the people the two faith communities serve can get back to doing Christmas dinner together indoors, like they did before the pandemic.

“The pandemic, because of its very nature, changes a lot of things, it stops a lot of things, but it does not prevent us from being kind and compassionate and neighborly,” Ms. Fields said. “In fact, I think the pandemic magnifies the need for compassion even more.”

[To view a gallery of images from this event, taken by FJC member Gary Shuman, click on this link: https://tinyurl.com/4t85t532 ]