Festival puts focus on helping the homeless

Since Sukkot this year coincides with San Rafael’s Homelessness Awareness Month, the Sukkot Harvest Festival at the Osher Marin JCC will highlight organizations that address the needs of the unsheltered.

The free Sukkot event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22. In addition, the JCC facilities and pools will be open to everyone, free of charge, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We hope to empower all who come here to contribute to the idea of welcoming the stranger — to honoring everyone in our community and supporting organizations that serve our local homeless and low-income residents,” said Joanne Greene, director of the Center for Jewish Peoplehood at the JCC.

One of the features will be a sukkah covered in signs purchased from homeless people, based on an entry in the 2010 Sukkah City contest in New York City (see page 28).

Activities will include decorating grocery bags to collect items for a homeless nonprofit; learning how to make gift baskets for families in need; and for children, decorating tray liners for the dining room at the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Other participating organizations include the Ritter Center, Adopt a Family, the Rotating Emergency Shelter Team and the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative.

Attendees are asked to bring donations of new men’s white socks or an adult sleeping bag.

The festival also will focus on how to live and eat more sustainably. In addition, the authors of “Nosh on This: Gluten Free Baking Classics from a Jewish American Kitchen” will be on hand offering tips and treats, and food for purchase will be available from Miller’s East Coast Deli. Kids can learn to make corn husk dolls and seed balls.

Free onsite parking is available at the Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. Pedro Road, San Rafael, plus there will be a shuttle from an overflow lot at 45 San Pablo Ave. For more information, visit www.marinjcc.org/harvest or call (415) 444-8000.