Irma couldn't wipe out provider's plans to package holiday cheer for homebound seniors

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The Brighter Side
The Brighter Side

For 400 volunteers at MorseLife Health System in West Palm Beach, FL, nothing — not even Hurricane Irma — could get in the way of sharing the joy of the High Holidays with homebound Jewish seniors.

The volunteers gathered on Monday to assemble more than 900 packages as part of MorseLife's Homebound Mitzvah Program, now in its 20th year. The group packed up traditional kosher meals, wine, prayer books and DVDs of services conducted by Rabbi Alan Sherman, the chaplain at the community.

MorseLife, which includes long-term care, assisted and independent living, memory care, and short-term rehab, weathered in place for Irma and welcomed at-risk seniors into its buildings during the storm. Despite all those challenges, the provider chose to carry on its annual care package tradition.

The packages were delivered just in time for the High Holidays, which kick off today with Erev Rosh Hashanah and continue next week with Yom Kippur. After deliveries were made, volunteers also stayed to visit with some of the package recipients who otherwise might not have someone to celebrate with, said Linda Sevich, directory of community services for MorseLife.

“The Jewish holidays can be particularly lonely for many of our community's seniors who have lost their spouses and good friends, and who do not have children or other close relatives nearby,” Sevich said. “It has been our honor for 20 years to be able to bring the joys and traditions of the Jewish New Year to them — it's truly a beautiful mitzvah.”