A new year frequently brings change, sometimes welcome, sometimes less so. As the new Jewish year 5,778 approaches we have learned of a change that will impact an institution near and dear to the hearts of our congregation and to thousands of people on the Upper Cape and beyond...the Falmouth Service Center.

Some background: the Falmouth Service Center’s mission is to ease stress, reduce hunger and improve the quality of life for our neighbors in need. The Falmouth Service Center (FSC) works to increase self-sufficiency by helping to build networks among clients, neighbors and agencies. Through the decades the FSC has grown tremendously, serving ever-increasing numbers of clients and operating from a beautiful facility on Gifford Street in Falmouth. Its operating budget, including food donated by the Greater Boston Food Bank, is some $2.7 million dollars and every single dollar, raised through private and corporate donations and through grants, counts.

It is important to note that, while the FSC has “Falmouth” as part of its name because of its origins, the FSC, in fact, serves residents of Falmouth and Mashpee (and will soon serve Sandwich residents). Its services are available to anyone who works in Falmouth, regardless of where they live, as well as anyone who receives services through the WE CAN Women’s Empowerment Program.

MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, was founded in 1985 as a way for the Jewish community to respond to the fundamental problems of food insufficiency and the challenges of shaping appropriate governmental responses to the problem of hunger. Our congregation has been, for decades, a proud MAZON Congregational Partner, supporting its efforts, most especially at the fall holy days when we have taken part in MAZON’s “Corners of Our Fields” project when we bring to the temple food earmarked for the Falmouth Service Center and we solicit donations for MAZON which, historically, have averaged between $6-10K per year.

The Falmouth Service Center, for the past fourteen years, has applied for MAZON grants and has been the beneficiary of grants each year, somewhere in the range of $10-12K per year. In this fiscal year the FSC budgeted $11,000 in anticipation of another MAZON grant. Recently, the FSC was informed by MAZON that it should not expect further grants because of a philosophical shift in MAZON’s grant-making process which will now favor smaller, start-up efforts as well as organizations engaged in advocacy work to address the root causes of food insufficiency. This leaves the FSC with an $11,000 “hole” in its budget, a budget in which every singly dollar counts.

After discussion with the co-chairs of our congregation’s Social Action Committee, and with the endorsement of our Board of Directors, our participation in “The Corners of Our Fields” project this year will be a bit different. Leaving Rosh Hashanah services you will still receive an empty grocery bag to fill with nourishing non-perishable foods to return to the temple for transport to the FSC. Last year we collected some 300 bags and we always hope to set a new record. Attached to each bag will be an envelope addressed to Falmouth Jewish Congregation into which we ask that you place as generous a check as you can manage, made payable to FALMOUTH SERVICE CENTER. Once all checks have been received and we have totaled what we have collected, we will pass those funds along to the FSC in the name of our congregation.

We deeply cherish our longstanding connection to the Falmouth Service Center and we are privileged to be in a position to help it meet this latest fiscal challenge, bearing in mind that all of our efforts reflect our commitment to caring for, and supporting, our neighbors.

May all of us be blessed in the approaching new year to have our needs met and to find ourselves in a position to help meet the needs of others.