B’nai Vail congregation helps feed the community
Members from across the nation raise $25k for locals
In mid March, when news broke of the ski resorts in Colorado shutting down and hotels and businesses following suite shortly thereafter, it didn’t take long for the congregation of B’nai Vail to mobilize and generate ways to give back.
“One of our members, Dr. David Cohen, created a challenge for our congregation,” said Rabbi Joel Newman. “Our membership spans beyond the Vail Valley. We have members from all over, from Texas, Connecticut, and California and of course, locally.”
“The money raised wasn’t used to support B’nai Vail, its purpose was to support the community, and our congregation wanted to help those here who were in need.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began and fundraising started over ten weeks ago, B’nai Vail has collected about $25,000. As the donations funneled in, the congregation quickly worked to spread the goodness to others.
Local restaurants and a catering company stepped up to fulfill the nutritional side of this pandemic challenge. Village Bagel, Kirby Cosmo’s, Sauce on the Creek, Etown and Red Maple Catering pitched in.
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It started at Vail Health, where B’nai Vail would feed those who were working in the middle of the night. “We sent over 400 meals to doctors and staff, all individually wrapped to follow the safety protocols, from Village Bagel,” Rabbi Newman said.
The generosity soon spread to the town of Vail and town of Avon police departments. “Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger was going out and getting the meals and we said, ‘don’t worry, we can do that’ and we ordered food from Kirby Cosmo’s and Sauce on the Creek,” Rabbi Newman said. B’nai Vail also fed those taking the 911 calls by bringing meals to Vail Public Safety’s five locations throughout the valley.
The proceeds collected have also gone to support the food banks at Salvation Army Vail and The Community Market. Gift cards for $100 to City Market have also been passed out. Rabbi Newman and his wife, Janet, would even get shopping lists from those in need and deliver groceries to front doorsteps throughout the county.
Rabbi Newman said that they reached out to 90 families in the area and basically said they could call Village Bagel and order bagels and shmear and put it on B’nai Vail’s tab.
The help stretched beyond the B’nai Vail congregation. Non-Jewish members of the community were helped, also. Rabbi Newman even arranged for traditional Easter dinner fixings to be sent to the hospital staff working the night shift on Easter Sunday. “One of our eight degrees of charitable giving in the Jewish religion is not knowing where a charitable gift comes from and who it is going to,” said Rabbi Newman. “Our congregation is happy to show support during these challenging times.”