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The TBE Blog

Family Table has been, and is first-nature to my family’s weekend experience.  My husband, Matt, was volunteering with Family Table well before we met as a meaningful way to engage in community service with other singles in their 20s.  While we didn’t meet there, it wasn’t long until I joined in on this monthly mecca to the Jewish Family & Children’s Service facility in Waltham adding extra personal care items that Matt deemed necessary. During our early dating history, we made the monthly Sunday drives from our respective homes in West Roxbury and Newton and a little later from our shared abode in Watertown to pack and deliver bags of groceries to elders and families in need.  

Not long after we married, we found a home in Newton, very close to the Waltham facility. Our monthly drive continued and soon was accompanied by an additional bagger, our son, Arni.  I recall the many oohs and aahs from the Family Table workers and other volunteers as Arni lay asleep in the baby carrier on our Sunday packing routine.  It wasn’t long before he was assisting with the packing (or at least adding the extra soap!).  

Then fast forward two years nine months later to a Sunday evening after a morning full of packing and delivering, when I went into labor with our second child, Capri, six weeks early!  Perhaps it was the heavy bags I was toting or her desire to be a part of this shared experience, but regardless, the day will always be attached to the Sunday of Family Table.  Ten year old Arni is now filling bags on his own and Capri continues the tradition of slipping in extra soap and toilet paper!

And since the beginning of the pandemic when Rabbi Saphire asked me to take on the Family Table initiative for TBE (seemingly a natural next step), I’ve been continuing this journey with JF&CS.  Now, in addition to driving our family, we schlep boxes and bags chock-full of donations from TBE members.  It’s been quite the ‘ride’—one that my kids will remember for our tradition, for the scents of the Brighton/Allston apartment highrises, from the smiles and one-way Russian discourse from the elderly customers, and mostly, for the chocolates that are so often gifted with love.