More than two years after it was launched, TRT CARES, a community outreach program, is experiencing a continuing demand for its services. The program was created by Temple Rodeph Torah of Marlboro in September 2008 to provide support to individuals and families in Central New Jersey who have been affected financially and emotionally by the difficult economic environment.
In recognition for the work of TRT CARES, Temple Rodeph Torah received the Irving J. Fain Award for Outstanding Synagogue Social Action Programming, the highest honor available to congregations within the Reform Jewish Movement. The award, which was presented in Washington, D.C. in early May, is given biennially to select congregations that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to social justice in their social action programming.
The mission of TRT CARES, a non-denominational program that is completely confidential and free of charge, is to provide a helping hand to residents in the local community who require expert professional assistance, and to demonstrate through action that “TRT Cares.” Over 100 volunteers from many area temples, churches and organizations responded to the call to action from Rabbi Donald Weber in September 2008. This includes professionals in the fields of law, finance, real estate, career counseling and emotional health as well as an administrative team to oversee the project and help get the word out.
In the two years that TRT CARES has been in operation, more than 135 requests have been received including calls for financial and legal advice, emotional support and career counseling. TRT CARES has helped people in the community take the next steps to put their lives back on track. Career workshops have been held on topics such as networking, interviewing, using social networking tools, and how to approach potential employers. The program has assisted an individual in avoiding foreclosure, helped another avoid eviction, and provided emotional counseling to many. TRT CARES has received numerous letters of appreciation from grateful recipients.
TRT CARES has provided assistance in another important way – it has served as an example of how a congregation can come together to help others in their community. The program has already inspired other congregations. Word of TRT CARES has spread and nearby congregations in New Jersey and as far away as Massachusetts, Florida, Louisiana and Canada are using it as a template to launch their own programs.
Commenting on the Fain Award, TRT CARES Chairman David Levy said, “We are delighted to receive this award and we appreciate the honor, but the need for TRT CARES continues over two years after its inception. We intend to be available to provide compassion and advice to all who seek our assistance.” Anyone seeking the services of TRT CARES may call 732 320-8287. All calls are confidential. Volunteers wishing to provide their expertise or to help in administering the program should send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TRT CARES is a program of Temple Rodeph Torah, 15 Mohawk Drive, Marlboro. For information about the temple, call 732-308-0055, or go to www.trt.org. Temple Rodeph Torah is accredited as an Accessible Congregation by the National Organization on Disability.