Ottawa Students Feed the Homeless
Chabad urges more university students to care for others
The Chabad Student Network of Ottawa (CSN) delivered close to 150 hot dogs and peanut butter sandwiches to the homeless on Wednesday, as part of an initiative co-organized by the Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi.
Approximately 15 students from the University of Ottawa, Carleton University and Algonquin College initially braved the cold to deliver the hot dogs that they had prepared in advance to surprised members of the Salvation Army.
But after just a few short minutes, the students found themselves out of hot dogs and headed back to the campus Chabad house to prepare more food.
With plenty of peanut butter sandwiches ready to serve, they went out to a second homeless shelter, before returning to the Salvation Army to hand out the rest.
“Our goal tonight is to reach out to people who are homeless and to show them that we care,” said Rabbi Chaim Boyarsky, co-director of CSN.
“During the Holocaust, after America liberated Treblinka, they were told to give out Hershey bars to all the people. But they were told not to give chocolates to the children because they were very sick and might die, so a soldier hugged one of them instead. Then all the children waited in line for their turn to get a hug.
“You don’t know the impact, not necessarily of the food, but of showing that someone cares,” he said.
According to Boyarsky, Chabad hosts an average of 17 events per week across the three Ottawa campuses, where there are presently 2,000 Jewish students combined.
He says that he would like to have more charity-oriented activities in the future, however the volunteers are currently lacking.
Boyarsky attributes this problem to the apathetic nature of many students. He says that Chabad’s aim is to fight that apathy “with warmth, by doing whatever it takes to bring people back in the fold to care for Jewishness and for giving to charity.
“We believe that we are here in this world to care for others. I would like to do this every week – to go to a homeless shelter, a nursing home or to help blind children. That would be my dream.”