Friendsgiving Shabbat: Give Back

Traditionally, Shabbat begins with tzedakah (charitable giving). Even before lighting the candles, we can help “create the world” by sharing our bounty with others. Friendsgiving Shabbat is a perfect time to incorporate this tradition into your Friday night ritual.

Here are a few ideas that are easy to bring to your dinner table:

  • Make sandwiches and getting them donated the next morning
  • Canned food drive via your guests and and talk about hunger in the US
  • Make/bring extra food or a separate meal and package that up to distribute to those in need later that night
  • Make tie blankets with flannel
  • Toy drive
  • Collect old winter gear from folks and donate to shelters
  • Book drive and talk about literacy

All of these ideas require a little preparation:

  1. Call shelters or organizations near you to see what kinds of items and food they can accept.
  2. Email your guests to let them know what they should bring or expect to do together.
  3. Coordinate drop-off! (Some places even pick up donations.)

Here are a few suggested organizations to donate to in some of our Hubs.


  • Jewish Family and Career Services accept goods for their Kosher Food Pantry (if people donate non-kosher items they will collect and donate it to the Atlanta Community Food Bank) during business hours.
  • Ahavath Achim– South Buckhead- collects for Kosher food pantry and ACFB all year long
  • Etz Chaim– East Cobb Kosher Food Pantry collection year round

Bay Area:


  • Lakeview Pantry – Food and cleaning supplies to both locations; clothing to Oakdale location.
  • Brown Elephant – Furniture, clothing, art, and more.


DC Metro Area:

  • Martha’s Table: takes clothing at Martha’s Outfitters, their store in SE DC. The address is 2204 MLK Ave SE. Food details for Martha’s Table are here.
  • Capital Area Food Bank for food. Doesn’t do pick-up, but this may also be a great option.


  • Yad Ezra Jewish food bank in Oak Park
  • NCJW Thrift Shop in Berkley

Los Angeles:

  • Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
  • PATH (People Assisting the Homeless)- 340 N. Madison Ave., (323) 644-2266. Monday–Friday, 7:40 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call ahead for drop-off on December 24 and 25. Canned food, staples. Call ahead for perishable foods.
  • SOVA– 7563 Beverly Blvd., (323) 932-1658 or 6027½ Reseda Blvd., Tarzana, (818) 789-7633. Call the office in advance for drop-off. All foods.
  • Salvation Army 505 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 581-9825. 24-hour drop-off. All foods.
  • National Council of Jewish Women — they’ll pick up larger donations!

New York:

  • City Harvest – For immediate pick-up, reach out to their Food Rescue team here.
  • Housing Works – Accepting women’s’ clothing, men’s clothing, handbags, furniture, jewelry, housewares, lighting, & books. Convenient drop-off locations are located in all Five Boroughs. Find your nearest location here.


Looking to give back to OneTable, so we can keep helping people gather every Friday night around the Shabbat dinner table? It’s super simple as a host. Host a Friendsgiving Shabbat Potluck made up of Thanksgiving leftovers. You can use our potluck organizer to make things simple. Then choose “Donate my Nourishment” after posting your dinner. That money will go on to create even more community across the country.

Al Rosenberg (they/them) is the Chief Strategy Officer at OneTable. Al lives just north of Chicago, loves handmade candles and board games, is a board member emeritus at Mishkan, and hosts a monthly Rosh Chodesh Well Circle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *