Editor's note: This article was updated to correct a misspelled name.
When Charlotte Rosenberg took the reigns of Temple of Israel’s program for Weekend Meals on Wheels (WMOW), she was responding to a problem that was close to her heart. Rosenberg and her husband are caregivers of aging parents and own Monarcares, a business that assists caregivers in managing the daily needs of elderly loved ones. So, naturally, this former New York lawyer had no reservations about breathing new life into the limping social action program of the Temple.
In a policies and procedures proposal for the Temple’s WMOW program Rosenberg wrote: “I do not want the program to die and firmly believe that it is the moral responsibility of our temple to perform Tikkun Olam. We live and worship in this community and it would be repugnant of us to turn our backs on anyone.”
Tikkun Olam means to help repair the world.
In our interview, Rosenberg passionately told me, “The older population needs to be protected. They need for us to spend time with them, not just give them food. We need to mow lawns, go to the store, and give them loving attention. Meals on Wheels volunteers are often the only people they see. They are lonely, which causes depression.” She encourages the Temple’s volunteers to spend some time visiting with the WMOW clients.
The Weekend Meals on Wheels website reminds us that “hunger does not take the weekend off.” WMOW became a non-profit in 1991 when volunteers from the weekly Meals on Wheels program realized that many of the clients did not have food during the weekend or holidays. After they became aware of this problem, MOW volunteers, churches, restaurants, and the New Hanover County Department of Aging developed Weekend Meals on Wheels. This nonprofit does not receive any funding from the government and relies solely on donations and grant money.
Therefore, each organization participating in WMOW purchases food with their own funds and prepares the meals themselves. This often falls upon the shoulders of the WMOW leader of each participating organization. It is costly and time consuming. Temple of Israel, through Rosenberg’s prompting, has partnered with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina to purchase their food for the meals. This dramatically cuts their costs.
But even the Food Bank is struggling. Rosenberg explained that the Food Bank is desperate for money donations and is in great need of frozen vegetables. Yes, Food Bank of NC accepts and needs frozen vegetables.
The Temple of Israel’s WMOW volunteers include the men, women and teens of the Temple. Rosenburg cooks most of the meals, and Temple volunteers help put the meals in the cartons to be distributed by their drivers. The Temple has four routes and delivered 40 meals on Dec. 23.
They delivered about 75 meals on Christmas Day.
Thank you, Temple of Israel for helping repair our broken world one meal at a time.