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Volunteer to feed the hungry!

Help those in need alongside your fellow Temple Emanuel congregants.

Sundays throughout Fall/Winter 2021

Volunteer to feed the hungry!

I-HELP is an acronym for Interfaith Housing Emergency Lodging Program.  It is a program of Tempe Community Action Agency that partners a number of faith communities, clubs, and organizations to combat homelessness.  Temple Emanuel is responsible for planning and preparing dinner and lunches for the first two Sundays of each month. 

Jim Flegenheimer, Temple Emanuel I-HELP (Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program)  coordinator, is looking for volunteers (and specifically groups of individuals) to cook and serve food (children are welcome, but should be 12 or older) on the following Sundays:

October 10
November 7
November 14
December 5
December 12

We have two no-contact/socially-distant options for volunteers/groups to participate:

1. Prepare at the church (as usual) and have the food delivered on carts by other volunteers
2. Prepare and drop the food off in the parking lot with prearranged volunteers who will then take and pass it out

Please consider volunteering your time to perform this mitzvah, and e-mailing Jim at

Click here to email Jim

A Message from Jim:     

As the Temple’s coordinator, I am responsible for filling these Sundays with a volunteer willing to organize a group of anywhere from 2-8 friends or family members who cook a healthy meal and prepare a sack lunch for the next day.  Anything goes when it comes to the content of the meals.  It should be a balanced meal including a main course along with a vegetable, a starch, +/- a salad, and dessert.  A brown-bag lunch is also prepared by the volunteer group.  The church where we prepare the dinner and lunch is the First United Methodist church in Tempe.  They have a large kitchen with a gas stove, oven, and all the pots, pans, and utensils one needs to make or heat up a meal for 25-45 people. 

The exact number of people eating each night is not known until a few hours before, so it is best for groups to prepare for 45.  There often are late people who show up, so “late plates” are prepared for those who miss the meal at the start time of around 5:00 p.m.   Leftovers do not go to waste. The church facility also provides the homeless a place to shower and sleep for the night, and they each get to leave the next day with a sack lunch. 

The challenges of COVID-19 have not really affected the process with one exception.  If the group does not feel comfortable going into the church for meal preparation or serving, there is the option of dropping cooked food off in the parking lot where it is picked up and served by the volunteers of the church.  There is a contact person that is informed and arranges for the parking lot pick up.  

As the coordinator now for over 8 years, I sometimes fill in several times per year if there are Sunday Vacancies. I have always been impressed with the politeness and gratitude shown by the guests who are on the receiving end of our culinary effort.

If you can organize a small group and would like to partake in this mitzvah, please notify me at or call me at 480-390-1514. 

I would like to recognize and thank the group organizers who have volunteered so far this year:


Kathryn Baldwin
Marion Weich
David Pinkwasser
Judy Stock
Cindy Weschrob
Heather Heitkamp-Brown
Sandi Orenstein
Sue Ochs
Jessica Bennensen
Sharon Paley
Susan Charney

Sat, December 4 2021 30 Kislev 5782