Congregation Etz Chaim of DuPage County

What Social Action Does

Contact: Marla Gerard


Over the years, a combination of congregants’ efforts, donations to our Louis & Bettye Kaplan Social Action Fund, and contributions to the tzedakah box in the synagogue lobby have helped numerous organizations that fight homelessness, poverty and hunger; support Jewish causes in the US and worldwide; and improve the environment, health, education, and socio-economic status of disadvantaged individuals.

The Social Action Committee works to achieve balanced support for a blend of social action causes and to include as many members of Etz Chaim in this work as possible. We encourage Tikkun Olam by giving congregants opportunities to roll up their sleeves and give to others through their own hard work on many programs and through donations to the Louis and Bettye Kaplan Social Action Fund and the lobby tzedakah box.


Here are some ways we make a difference:

Feed the Hungry and House the Homeless

  • We donate our time and resources to host a weekly PADS* homeless shelter in the Etz Chaim Social Hall (* PADS = Public Action to Deliver Shelter)
  • We donate food and money to the People’s Resource Center, a food and clothing pantry and job skills center in Wheaton
  • We furnish apartments for PADS shelter residents who are moving into their own place
  • We provide ongoing support to Walk-In Ministries which provides emergency assistance to people in need in our community
  • We deliver Rosh Hashanah and Passover baskets for needy Jews in the area through Maot Chitim

Our Congregants

  • We helped defray the cost for Etz Chaim High School students to attend L'Taken, a program in Washington DC that brings together diverse groups of 10th-12th grade students from around the country to explore public policy and social activism through a Jewish lens
  • We sponsor Mitzvah Day for congregants to help people in need by making items to brighten their day
  • We provide networking opportunities for people seeking employment
  • We host panel discussions on topics of local interest
  • With Etz Chaim membership in DuPage United, we represent our congregants’ views on social action in DuPage County, with special emphasis on health, housing, education and jobs, and work to ensure government funding for social programs.

Jewish Organizations and Israel

  • We support the Jewish United Fund with our annual JUF brunch and speaker fundraiser


  • We sponsor a Martin Luther King Jr program every year to foster discussion on civil rights and other issues

Health Care

  • We sponsor blood drives
  • We host ACA health care signups

Environment and Natural Disasters

  • We make donations from the Social Action Fund to help victims of natural disasters and other human-made disasters.
  • We sponsor local Forest Preserves and the Prairie Path clean-ups

Social Action is Action YOU Can Do

The Social Action Committee welcomes all congregants. Come to a meeting to learn what we do and how you can get involved. Contact Marla Gerard with questions or to get involved.