[VIDEO BELOW] If you pull up to the Tomchei Shabbos distribution warehouse on any given Thursday night throughout the year, you will notice an interesting phenomenon, one that tells a story – perhaps THE story – that defines the uniqueness of Tomchei Shabbos and the uniqueness of the Lakewood community.
It is the story of the vehicles. The vehicles? Yes, the long line of vehicles that line up like loyal soldiers awaiting marching orders. The fact that this line forms is not the whole story; obviously the Lakewood community is filled with altruistic individuals who are always seeking ways to help those in need without any need for recognition.
The story lies more in the makeup of this line of vehicles. As much as a vehicle can tell you about the identity and character of the one driving it (and admittedly not always can it be a true indicator, but I digress), this line of vehicles, each week without fail, is literally comprised of Lakewood residents of every type and stripe.
Some will be minivans with the obligatory camp magnets and other signs of belonging to a “leibidige” family; some will be pristine, newly leased luxury cars, indicating that their owners can probably find “better places to be”; some will be pick-up trucks, identifying their owners as hard-working members of the workforce, who instead of retiring at the end of a hard day day, take a detour to help their fellow community members in need first; some are “yeshivish” cars which may indicate that the driver may in fact be a recipient of Tomchei Shabbos’ kindness, yet is in the line ready to deliver boxes of goods to families that have even less than he does.
The freshly leased Honda Accords and Camrys, the rugged 4X4s and Pick-ups, the overused Odysseys and Siennas, the polished Genesis’ and Infinitys are lined up together with the ’92 Tauruses and even an occasional station wagon (yes, there really are still some of those around still!) may hail from different backgrounds, different neighborhoods and different life philosophies, but they are all united – via Tomchei Shabbos – in their mission to be a part of the Tomchei Shabbos mission to provide for the needs of every family in Lakewood that needs assistance.
As each vehicle gets loaded up with boxes of chicken, grape juice, potatoes, onions, pasta, mayonnaise, chocolate syrup, snack bags and virtually every other food staple imaginable, their labels suddenly change. No longer are they Toyotas, Nissans, Lincolns or Kias, no longer are they sedans, vans or luxury status symbols, no longer does the insignia on their fenders define them, instead they are all one, they are all united, they are all part of a community that goes the extra mile to take care of the less fortunate among them.
Tomchei Shabbos is the vehicle through which every family in Lakewood is able to retain their dignity and respect; The vehicles of the Tomchei volunteers are the unsung champions that keep the wheels of Chesed rolling, every day, every week, every month throughout the year, for every family in need.
Tomchei Shabbos: Well beyond Shabbos, Tomchei Volunteers: Well beyond Chesed.