Shabbos in Lakewood will never be the same again

Welcome to My Shabbos Family, a groundbreaking initiative of Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood. 

Lakewood is alight with the launch of an incredible new initiative from Tomchei Shabbos! My Shabbos Family is set to be one of the most rewarding efforts taking place in recent years. Its mission? To help our community, and those in our own neighborhoods. Started by Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood, this project takes place directly in an area you live in, in the Ridge Area; Albert Area; Forest Park; Westgate, Jackson, Toms River… and all over town. It’s fueled by you, your neighborhood, and our community.  

Lakewood is adopting Lakewood: “We don’t need to look far to hear the common phrase ‘charity begins at home,’ ” says a founding member of My Shabbos Family, “and there are so many families who are in need of our—your—-support!” “Just today, a mother called me up. She was tearful. ‘It’s not just the food, but Shabbos that you’ve given back to my family. We sit around our table, with chicken, and even dessert, and we feel like a regular family.’ ”  

My Shabbos Family is all about taking responsibility for our community, and taking on achrayus. “This initiative is about being there for our community, and showing up for our neighbors! In Lakewood, there are two sides, one of parnassah, and the other, barely able to afford Shabbos necessities. We can share the gift of Shabbos with our families in Toms River, Jackson, Howell… and the rest of Greater Lakewood! Without our community, and without you, nothing will happen.” 

“This initiative is about being there for our community, and showing up for our neighbors!” 

We’re taking responsibility. My Shabbos Family is an initiative of Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood, the largest kosher food pantry in New Jersey. My Shabbos Family aims to make sure every family in Lakewood has Shabbos food on their table. Your sponsorship goes directly to someone’s Shabbos food this week. Right now, there are 1,252+ families in Lakewood who are relying on us. With your support, we’ll bring Shabbos to every family in our town, and your neighborhood.  

How do the donations work? Through My Shabbos Family, you can customize your donation to your area, and adopt a family in need through a recurring donation that renews itself every month. You choose a family size in your area—which allots to a specific monthly amount—and you’re matched with a family in your area who will receive a box of core ingredients, necessities, meats, and fish. This is a movement that comes from us. We’re proud to have each other’s back! After all, it’s our neighbors, and our responsibility.  

But don’t take it from us. Take it from Sarah*, a single mother of five. 

“Most people look forward to Shabbos. But for my children and for myself, it was the hardest time of the week. Unlike my neighbors who shop freely, I spend a lot of time trying to track down the best deals and coupons,” Sarah says. “My Shabbos Family is changing so much for us! The boxes are delivered so sensitively, and my children love to open them up, to see what’s waiting for them inside.” 

“My parents live out of town, my siblings live in Eretz Yisroel, and it was hard to find a neighbor to go to for the seudah without sharing why. Now, I get top-quality ingredients delivered to my door, and I look forward to making my children good meals at home, just like everyone else. My children love setting the table now. And I look forward to Shabbos. My Shabbos Family has given my children more than just the food, but a taste of what Shabbos should be.” 

Here’s how it works. One Thursday each month, volunteers pack boxes full of items that are ordered in bulk. This saves in cost, and enables us to give even more to families, filling boxes with potatoes; cutlets; Lebens; pre-packed items, and other household necessities. Items are of the best quality with the highest kashrus standards, and are unmarked to protect the privacy of the 1,252 families who receive a My Shabbos Family delivery.  

 “My Shabbos Family has given my children more than just the food, but a taste of what Shabbos should be.” 

This is more than just a box. Each box is created according to what a family needs. Every child is accounted for, and looked after. Every item is rigorously checked and carefully packed. Every box is personalized to family size—careful not to pack too much or too little. Hundreds of boxes are packed in a few hours. And then, they’re loaded onto trucks. To accomplish this extraordinary feat, we rely on dedicated volunteers who come from all ages and backgrounds. 

 As one volunteer said: “It really is an enormous task. The pallets are huge! You cannot imagine how much food is in the warehouse. But every pallet is unpacked, and every item is accounted for.” We come together from all sectors of Klal Yisroel, for Klal Yisroel. And you play a large part! Your generosity, and your support, is what allows us to fulfill this precious mitzvah, of giving to our community. 

On Thursday, dedicated drivers deliver the boxes, and on Shabbos, everyone in our neighborhood has—and will have—food. Chezki, a Tomchei Shabbos delivery driver recounts what it feels like to deliver a box: “Every box delivered is another family that has all the essentials they need. It brings me joy to be able to take part in this, and give back to my neighbors in this way.” Another Tomchei Shabbos delivery driver elaborates even more. “My Shabbos Family does an excellent job making sure that the people I deliver to are treated with respect. I act like a regular driver delivering a box, just like anyone else would receive.” 

There are 1,252 families in our community waiting for you! And they’re just like you. They’re mothers. They’re fathers. They’re children. They’re adults, and someone else’s child. Their son may be in your son’s cheder, and you may not even know it. That’s the point! Everything is private, everything is done b’kavod, and everything is performed with complete anonymity and respect. After all, they’re just like us. They’re beautiful, wonderful families. But they’re families who need a little extra support. Right now, you have the opportunity to help them. Is there a greater mitzvah than that?  

“Every box delivered is another family that has all the essentials they need.” 

Our goal is to cover every single family in the Greater Lakewood area this year. One sponsorship covers one family, and you can customize your family size down to the very area you live in. In this way, you truly fulfill the mitzvah of giving to those who need in your own community. Your donation helps fund a family’s Shabbos food in your neighborhood, and brings joy to their Shabbos. It’s a zechus that your neighborhood is taking on! 

Look out for the next few weeks, as more ads and announcements will be put out talking about this initiative and campaign. Tomchei Shabbos of Lakewood’s updated website has a dedicated landing page for My Shabbos Family.  Eli,* a My Shabbos Family donor, says it best: “I truly believe what My Shabbos Family stands for, and what they do, is something special. Knowing that my donation goes straight to my neighbor, someone in my community b’derech kavod, brings me genuine joy on Shabbos too.” 

Lakewood, we’re counting on us.
Adopt a Shabbos Family today.
Visit to adopt your Shabbos Family. 

*names changed for privacy. 

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