On Christmas morning, about 15 volunteers from Temple Beth Am got to work peeling sweet potatoes, chopping celery, and baking turkeys in the temple's kitchen. Their hands worked quickly and efficiently as they prepared enough food to feed 32 people.
With about 20 total volunteers, mostly from the Temple Beth Am Sisterhood, a Reformed Jewish woman's group, they bought, prepared and delivered food to four group homes in Framingham. To prepare those meals, the group partnered with Advocates, a non-profit organization that focuses on helping those living with developmental and physical disabilities. This is the 15th year, Temple Beth Am and Advocates have teamed up.
"These are people in group homes, they don't have any family to be with on such a special day," said Helen Slavid, Sisterhood member.
This year the volunteers prepared turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce, and various desserts. The desserts, which were donated by Temple Beth Am members, included lemon squares, cookies, cheesecake and brownies.
"It's a great way for people to connect with the people outside of the Temple and the community," said Adam Levine, 16, of Framingham. "We can help volunteer and give back to the community as a whole."
As a member of Beth Am Temple Youth, Levine said this was his first time volunteering to help out with the prep-work, and cooking in the kitchen.
Along with the menus, the volunteers made holiday cards for the group homes.
"You don't have to celebrate Christmas to celebrate the spirit of Christmas," said Merle Kushner, Sisterhood member. "I enjoy the camaraderie of cooking with these wonderful women."
"We are an organization of women that support causes inside the temple and out," said Lyn Cron, group vice-president.