For MLK Day, women’s group caters to CHAI homes
Photo: Courtesy CHAI/Community Homes for Adults Inc.
CHAI members enjoy a dinner provided by Women of Dallas United for Action.

Women of Dallas United for Action participates in Day of Service

By Deb Silverthorn

For the residents and staff of the CHAI/Community Homes for Adults Inc., dinners this week spiced things up more than a bit. Forty-two volunteers delivered meals to the eight homes; some meals were from homemade recipes, others from area restaurants — and all were from the heart.

“We are fortunate that our own Kathy Schneider connected CHAI and the Women of Dallas United for Action (WDUA) for this incredible mitzvah of meals, a positive reflection of service,” said CHAI CEO Lisa Brodsky. “We can’t be up close right now, but a warm introduction was made with smiles of our residents’ great appreciation.”

Women of Dallas United for Action is a locally focused group of diverse progressive women who support fundamental human rights through education and political action. CHAI’s Community Relations Manager Kathy Schneider; Betsy Kleinman, a CHAI board member; and others from within the Jewish community sit on the WDUA’s leadership team.  

“We can heal through service and this was such a helpful and joyful way for our members to share,” said Schneider. When WDUA was approached by the Biden Inaugural Committee to participate in the Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, she jumped into action. “This was a perfect fit and opportunity to socially distance.”

Because of the constrictions of the pandemic, most meals for the residents and staff of the Bauer, Levy 1, Levy 2, Miller 1, Miller 2, Toub, Todd and Yale homes have been cooked within. While occasionally meals are ordered in, the residents — who last week received their first of two COVID-19 vaccinations — have not ventured out to a restaurant since the middle of March. Although meals made in-home are delicious and nutritious, the treats in the form of the gift-given dinners, many accompanied by games and flowers, were enjoyed by all. 

While some who volunteered were aware of CHAI, for others the opportunity was an introduction to the state-of-the-art group homes and the vocational, educational, social and spiritual programs provided for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Jerri Yoss, a WDUA member who, with her husband Christian, prepared a chicken, mushroom and pasta entrée and a salad, and topped the meal off with a pie, knew nothing of CHAI before this opportunity.

“I knew Kathy’s work was of goodness but as our lives have become more integrated, I wanted to help,” said Yoss. “What a fabulous chance to give and we’re so happy it was enjoyed.

“My husband loves to cook, never with a recipe, and it’s always delicious. We’ve missed preparing big meals while socially distancing,” said Yoss. For the foreseeable future, she and her husband are set to cook weekly dinners for those at CHAI’s Toub and Bauer homes. “We waved to the residents at the porch and you could see their happy faces and how gracious and bubbly they were.”

Deliveries were made to each home’s doorstep, with staff members picking up while in full personal protective equipment — robed, masked and with face shields — nonetheless with smiles shining through.

“These are very difficult times,” said Brodsky, “but we’re so grateful for the support we’ve received, of so many kinds through so many avenues.”

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