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“Blue Jars for Change” at Rodef Shalom

The High Holidays are quickly approaching. For JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, this means the High Holiday Food Drive!

One participating congregation, Rodef Shalom, held their food drive almost every High Holiday Season for many years. Then about five years ago, they noticed that the response to the food drive was decreasing, both in quantity and enthusiasm.

So they devised a fresh, new idea to encourage congregants to keep giving tzedakah in a meaningful way. After some brainstorming and consultation, “Blue Jars for Change” was born! The idea was the “brainchild” of Marian Allen, Rodef Shalom’s social action chairperson.

So these days, there are two ways to give. Congregants can pick up an empty bag with a list of most needed food items and return it filled. Their goal is 3,600 lbs., a symbolic number representing the 36,000 Pittsburghers in need of food assistance. Or, those who choose not to donate food can pick up a blue jar and fill it with spare change instead! This donation allows the Food Pantry to purchase items in bulk that turn every dollar into five meals.

Whichever choice congregants make, food in a bag or funds in a blue jar, Rodef Shalom’s holiday tradition makes a significant impact on those in our community who struggle with food insecurity. Last year “Blue Jars for Change” raised $1947, for a running total of over $4000! This is in addition to the hundreds of pounds of food collected every year.

The Food Pantry is so grateful to have such amazing community support, and we want to extend a special thank you to Rodef Shalom for their efforts every year and their contributions through “Blue Jars for Change.”