“R. Phinehas in the name of R.

Reuben said: ‘If a man gives a perutah (a penny) to a poor man, will G-d repay him in perutahs?’ ‘Nay, he gave not a perutah to a destitute man, but he verily gave him life. Suppose a loaf of bread sells for t en perutahs, and the poor man has only nine, does not this enable him to buy lif e-preserving food by his gift of a perutah? G-d saith to the giver: ‘Thou hast s aved the life of the poor man; when the time comes for you life to end, I will g ive it back to you.’’” – Wayyikra Rabbah, 34 as quoted in The Talmudic Anthology , Tales & Teaching of the Rabbis, edited by Louis I. Newman in collaboration wit h Samuel Spitz, copyright 1945, published by Behrman House, Inc. Even in the best economy, there are always those who are poor, as divorce, illne ss and bad luck work against the best of us. When the economy gets bad, even mor e people fall into terrible difficulties. In this region, we have food banks that are in desperate need not only of food d onations but also cash. Many of these food banks can purchase food cheaper than you can, so if you spend a dollar on a can of soup for them, they get a can of s oup, whereas if you give them that dollar they can get more than a can of soup. In this region, we have soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Many of them need d onations and volunteers. Even with what we do have, we do not have enough food in our food banks, we do n ot have enough soup kitchens, and we do not have enough homeless shelters. Maybe your house of worship can help one day a week or one day a month. Maybe, t here is a place you can donate bus fare to so that someone so can get to a job i nterview. Maybe the local service club (Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions) can host a benef it for the local homeless shelter. Maybe there are some used clothes in your closet that can be donated to a homele ss shelter or social service agency. Think how valuable those clothes can be if by donating them, someone less fortunate will have suitable clothes to wear to a job interview. Maybe your company can start a program for hiring the homeless, or the long-term unemployed. If I remember correctly, Bergen Community College hires people with developmental issues to work in their mailroom. It does not matter what you do, just do something, for we are taught that even a single penny can save someone’s life. Just imagine what can be accomplished wit h more then a penny, or with a good idea, or by teaming up with others. The task is great and none of us are exempt from helping.

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