Tikvat Israel Congregation

A Conservative Synagogue in Rockville, MD

Comfort Cases Focus of MLK Day of Service

(Photo by Amy Matathias)

One hundred people from Tikvat Israel Congregation and Twinbrook Baptist Church gathered at TI on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 15, 2018, to assemble backpacks or small duffel bags with new essential and comfort items for children and teens entering foster care.

The participants filled 123 of these comfort cases with a blanket, pajamas, a stuffed animal, a coloring book and crayons or a journal and pen and pencil set, and toiletries. Each case provides the essentials for the first few days in a new place as well as comfort items to help ease a scary transition. In addition 70 lunches were packed for a homeless shelter, children made cards  and 40 blankets were created to add to the Comfort Cases.

A highlight of the day of service was a presentation by Rob Scheer, founder of the non-profit organization Comfort Cases, who spent his childhood in foster care and expressed the pain he experienced in packing his personal belongings in a trash bag that he took with him into each new place. When he and his partner adopted four foster children, he said he was surprised to discover that the children were still using tattered trash bags 30 years later. The goal of the Comfort Cases organization, he said, is to ensure the dignity of children entering foster care by providing them with a backpack or duffel bag of their own in which to pack their personal belongings.

In another presentation, Jamie Smith, a TI congregant, talked about her experiences in adopting her three daughters. Cantor Helzner led participants in singing songs of freedom and hope. Rabbi Ben Shull spoke about passages in Exodus related to God’s four promises of redemption, and Rev. Jill McCrory of Twinbrook Baptist Church preached about the importance of helping others, based on passages in Genesis and Exodus.

The event ended with lunch in the social hall.

Additional photos from this event can be found on our Facebook page.