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Temple Leads Holiday Food Drive

At Temple Israel in Westport, preparations for Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, are in full swing. Executive Director Sandy Silverstein said the temple also is gearing up for its annual Yom Kippur food drive to benefit all Homes With Hope venues.

"This is something we've been doing for many years," said Silverstein. "I've been here for nine years, and this event precedes me."

Known as the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur is traditionally observed by 25 hours of fasting and praying. The holiday begins Friday at sunset and ends Saturday at nightfall.

Food will be collected Friday night and Saturday at Temple Israel and at Bedford Middle School. All are welcome to make donations.

On Friday, food can be dropped off to the truck, at either location, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. On Saturday, food can be dropped off to the truck at Bedford from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to the truck at the temple. The food is delivered to the Gillespie Center on Sunday morning.

Organized by the temple's Social Action Committee—a group of volunteers who organize community service and social justice events—the food drive is a templewide effort, Silverstein said.

"Our congregants are quite generous: An overwhelming amount of food is collected during this drive," Silverstein said. "We have congregants that go to store to specifically buy items on the list."

Shopping bags were handed out during Rosh Hashanah. Stapled to each bag was a list of nonperishable food items sought by Homes With Hope, a nonprofit organization in Westport that battles homelessness.

"I was told the food collected during the drive has, in the past, provided three months of food," Silverstein said. "That's a lot of food, but there's a lot of need."

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