As we approach Rosh Hashanah which we pray will be sweeter than the last, we have a measure of relief as we are finally allowed to celebrate the High Holy Days together with family and friends, without the stress of vaccination certificates and masks. For COA’s Rosh Hashanah, the organisation will once again provide its special annual service to the Jewish community – delivering the gift of Rosh Hashanah parcels to seniors across Sydney.
There are a few different types of parcels given by COA:
● Over 125 members getting Kosher Meals on Wheels are gifted with something extra in their usual meal delivery – a special slice of honey cake baked by COA’s own volunteer baking team and made with love.
● To the 260 people getting COA Fresh each week, COA adds honey to the usual delivery.
● More than 100 members, who attend the centre each week receive the volunteer-made honey cake in the week prior to Rosh Hashanah.
● When it comes to the 320 Jewish residents in non-Jewish aged care facilities, each year COA joins with Jewish House to provide a bigger parcel, with more than just apples and honey, such as fruit juice and chocolates.
● And finally, to more than 70 people facing hard times COA provides a substantial parcel including tinned foods, fruit juice, sauces, dried fruit, cookies, sugar free candy, of course apple and honey and an extra slice of honey cake.
Those figures show the scope of this annual project.
This year COA will be sending out almost 900 Rosh Hashanah gifts.
The preparation starts months in advance as COA purchases items for the parcels, arrange ingredients for the cakes that will be baked, and roster a small army of volunteers to make hundreds of deliveries across the Sydney basin.
COA’s new volunteer coordinator Ranmalie De Silva has been approaching every person on the volunteer database finding willing hands to pack parcels, and drivers to deliver them. She has also been talking to Jewish House who joins COA in providing parcels to aged care residences, and Ranmalie has been negotiating with them for parcel ingredients and planning shofar blowing at all the aged care residences who allow it.
There is beauty and value in simply reaching out, and the project has touched the lives of so many people over the past 25 years. Although a massive effort, it is done with much love, and has proved crucial to many Jewish seniors’ feelings of community connection and cultural heritage.
Thanks to COA’s team of hardworking frontline workers, every Jewish senior in need will get not just food, but real love and compassion, in every delivery.
If you, or anyone you know, needs food support this holiday season, please contact COA Sydney as soon as possible so you can access the special holiday menu. Contact COA Sydney at firstname.lastname@example.org or (02) 9389 0035.