Her mask hid her smile, but not her enthusiasm.
Susan Sirois, executive director of Bread and Roses, said she was nearly speechless and her "heart was pounding" when she was presented an $18,000 check from Temple Emanuel last Thursday morning.
"We are not kidding you. The checks have cleared," Temple President Marc Freedman said when offering the donation. "All the checks we got, they all cleared."
The record-setting amount of donations was made as part of the temple's High Holy Days annual food drive that lasted about a month, said Amy Sebell, the temple's Bread and Roses committee chairperson.
During every service and Zoom call the temple hosted, congregants were reminded that they could make donations to the soup kitchen and emergency food service based in Lawrence, Sebell said.
"I think the people who realize how lucky they are are reaching out," Sebell said, explaining that the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic has made people more aware of food insecurity.
"People are losing their homes through no fault of their own," she added.
The amount donated is not only record-setting but significant because 18 is an important number in Hebrew — meaning "life," Sebell said.
"This is going to do a lot of good this year," Sirois said.