On Wednesday, February 24, Lakewood Community Services Corporation (LCSC) hosted the annual meeting of Lakewood Kehilla Chesed organizations. LCSC acts as the umbrella organization for the more than twenty agencies that are part of this exceptional group whose only purpose to serve the Klal. The LCSC, founded by the Lakewood Vaad some ten years ago, acts as the lead agency in applying for funding for the many Kehilla social service and community agencies. Horav Shmuel Blech, Shlita, Lakewood’s ‘senior’ Rov and LCSC Chairman, set the tone for the meeting in his opening remarks by expressing the Kehilla’s Hakoras Hatov for providing such a breadth and scope of selfless Chesed services to a community that continues to grow by leaps and bounds, bli ayin hora. He expressed the value of coming together b’achdus to properly understand the full scope and needs of the Kehilla and the assistance necessary to meet them.
Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg, LCSC President, followed by thanking the LCSC board members, including Rav Shmuel Blech, Rabbi Yitzchok Rozsansky and R’ Ben Heinemann and R’ Yaakov Mueller, who selflessly give of their time and energy for the sake of the Klal and the needs of the community. He also welcomed Lakewood Deputy Mayor Menashe Miller and the many askanim representing the bulk of Lakewood’s chesed organizations.
“It is a true Kiddush Hashem to see men and women taking the time away from their jobs and homes so that they can discuss the urgent concerns and community priorities. In these very challenging economic times it is even more important that we meet in a spirit of achdus as a group to focus on the Kehilla’s greatest needs and priorities”, said Rabbi Weisberg.
The group consisted of well known long standing mosdos hachessed as well as some newer organizations. Each presented on overview of their projects and activities.
The Lakewood Lev Rochel Bikur Cholim is a well known address for chesed during a medical difficulty. They were represented by well known askonim Reb Moshe Geller and Reb Mordecai Gottleib. Lakewood Hatzolah was represented by Reb Avrohom Waxman. As the Kehilla increases, so does the need for both their vital services.
Other organizations in attendance were representatives from Ohr Nosson (after-school mentoring), Tiferes D’vorah L’Kallah, Pearl Blau Learning Center, Bachurai and Reach.
Rabbi Moshe Heiman, representing Lev L’Talmud discussed the growing need for mentoring even in the younger grades. Mrs. Binder from the Special Children’s Center
discussed the desperate need for respite services, so ably provided by many volunteers who open their homes and give tirelessly of their time and effort. Mrs. Gottlieb appealed on behalf of those new mothers who need extra care and help. She also discussed the terrible effects of postpartum depression and the necessity of having this health and mental health issue properly addressed so that whole families are not devastated by this illness.
The common thread of all the organizations, eloquently summarized by Rav Blech, is the misiras nefesh to help yechidim and families in distress, and the respect that they show to the work of their sister organizations.
As much as these organizations appreciate some grant funding to be able to continue their work, it is still the generous Kehilla’s financial support and participation in fundraising events that are the primary means to ensure the success of these agencies.
LCSC will be shortly presenting an application for Community Development Block Grant funding based on the consensus of the meeting. The CDBG is a federal agency appropriation that provides assistance to local organizations to enable them to continue their work. The funding that is secured by LCSC is then allocated among the many organization that are part of this group. The funding is used for staff, equipment and program development.
Beyond the CDBG, the Lakewood Community Services, in conjunction with the Lakewood Vaad, continues to work diligently throughout the year to secure any available federal, state and local funding for the various Chesed organizations in Lakewood. “We are fortunate to have elected officials who partner with us in this vital work for the Lakewood community. This partnership allows the work we all do to continue and expand to meet the increasing needs of the Kehilla”, concluded Rabbi Weisberg.
Attached photo: Horav Shmuel Blech, Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg, Lakewood Deputy Mayor Menashe Miller and representatives of Lakewood Chessed organization (partial view)