וְכִי-יָמוּךְ אָחִיךָ, וּמָטָה יָדוֹ עִמָּךְ–וְהֶחֱזַקְתָּ בּוֹ, גֵּר וְתוֹשָׁב וָחַי עִמָּךְ
If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he was a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Leviticus 25:35
Abraham’s Tent is a community-based program with the Columbus House shelter which, through the generosity of local religious congregations and organizations, provides shelter and case management for 12 adult men for about 15 weeks from the end of December through March in Greater New Haven. On a rotating basis, volunteers from each host site provide shelter, meals, and fellowship from early evening through breakfast each day for one week. The program is named to remind us Abraham’s hospitality to strangers from the book of Genesis in the Bible.
BEKI has participated in this outstanding initiative since the winter of 2010-11, working closely each year with our partners (and after all these years – our friends) at the Church of the Holy Spirit (COHS) in West Haven. BEKI has been the primary host site for this partnership since 2015, and we look forward to continuing to work our work together in this wonderful program.
This year, BEKI will host Abraham’s Tent from February 10 through February 17, 2020.
The Abraham’s Tent participants must apply before the winter to participate. Once chosen and the program begins, the men arrive in the late afternoon daily to Columbus House, are interviewed to make sure they are in suitable condition to participate that day, shower, collect or store their belongings and bedding, and travel together by van to that week’s host location, arriving by about 6pm with several members of the Columbus House staff. After settling in, participants and volunteers dine and spend the evening together and the staff leaves for the night. The men will spend a comfortable, warm and safe overnight at BEKI, with several BEKI or COHS volunteers on-site. In the early morning, breakfast is served for all, and the van will transport the participants to Columbus House to continue their daily activities. They will return each night of that week to BEKI. All case management is done by professionals from Columbus House.
Most host organizations prepare meals through pot-luck participation of their members. Because of BEKI’s kashrut standards, all meals will either be prepared in the BEKI kitchen or through an approved kosher caterer.
Over the last 10 years, most of the men who participated in this program have moved to transitional or permanent housing. Each works with a case manager to figure out their best next step. There are times when BEKI members have continued to be involved with some of the men to offer additional support as they settle into their new situations, providing employment opportunities, furniture, food and friendship.
The BEKI Tikun Olam Committee is proud once again to be able to coordinate BEKI’s effort in this worthwhile project.
SIGN UP ONLINE AT: tinyurl.com/ATatBEKI2020 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Your help is needed in all of the following ways:
We’ll be organizing a “GIVING TREE” in the BEKI Lobby for specific directed clothes donations AND a ONE-DAY TOILETRIES DRIVE on Sunday, February 9th. Please bring in what you can and leave in the bins provided in the BEKI lobby.
For more information about this and other Tikun Olam (Social Action/Justice) programs at BEKI, please contact co-chairs: Darryl Kuperstock (firstname.lastname@example.org 203-215-8555) or Steve Werlin (email@example.com 617-721-8213).