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The Suburbanite
  • ‘Shoe Box Project’ benefits domestic violence victims

  • For Judy Tenenbaum, charitable work has long been an important part of her life. “I have two sons. When they were younger, I was always looking for ways to get them involved in charitable events,” she explained.

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  •   For Judy Tenenbaum, charitable work has long been an important part of her life.
    “I have two sons. When they were younger, I was always looking for ways to get them involved in charitable events,” she explained.
    In Judaism, good deeds are known as “mitzvahs.”
    Tenenbaum said that, in past years, her family has contributed to such causes as Operation Christmas Child, the international relief organization.
    “I just thought there’s got to be a local version of a similar program.”
    But there wasn’t.
    So, Tenenbaum started one.
    Earlier this year, with help from Jewish Social Action Committee at Temple Israel, Tenenbaum and her friend, Diana Collum, launched “The Shoe Box Project.”
    “It just took off; it’s a wonderful concept,” Tenenbaum said.
    HOW IT WORKS
    The Shoe Box Project benefits women and children residing at the Domestic Violence Project. Plastic shoe boxes are filled with age-appropriate donated items, such as journals, puzzles, books, socks, crafts and toiletries, and taken to the agency, which houses an average of 17 women and 20 children per month.
    Tenenbaum said the Temple Israel community has been extremely generous, noting that women and children arrive at the Domestic Violence Project “at all hours.”
    “It’s a type of comfort,” she said of the boxes. “The Domestic Violence Project provided us with a ‘needs list’ that we published in the Stark Jewish News, and the reception we got was incredible.”
    The first shoe boxes were delivered in February.
    CHURCHES WANTED
    Now, Tenenbaum and Collum are seeking donations and participation from other local churches and charity groups.
    “It helps make people more aware of what’s going on in their community, outside of their lives,” Collum said. “When they become aware of a need, they can make a difference in other people’s lives.”
    Rabbi Jon Adland said contact has already been made with some religious organizations.
    “We’d like to be able to get several churches,” he said.
    “Our goal is to have enough (groups) to be able to do it six times a year,” Collum said. “That would be ideal.”
    The average value of the shoe boxes is $25. Tenenbaum and Collum, a long-time supporter of Community Christmas, have set up a “shoe box” tree in the lobby of the Canton Jewish Community Center at 2651 Harvard Ave. NW. Donors take a tag from the tree, and purchase the items noted on the tag, and return it to the lobby.
    The project also accepts monetary donations to sponsor $25 boxes.
    “To keep it to $25, we’re always shopping,” Collum said with laugh.
    For more information or to donate, call Temple Israel at 330-455-5197.