Courtney Cohen with students from Richmond Jewish Day School holding donated items for care packages. (photo from Rose’s Angels)
The ninth annual Rose’s Angels took place over the months of February and March. With the generous help of family, friends and community, it was possible to donate to 10 not-for-profit agencies servicing the most vulnerable in Richmond.
Rose’s Angels has been a community event since 2012, donating more than 6,000 care packages to date in honour of Rose Lewin and Babs Cohen, Courtney Cohen’s grandmothers. The event runs under the umbrella of the Kehila Society of Richmond, where Cohen and Lynne Fader, co-executive director of the society, established the project together.
With the increasing cost of living and many families struggling to make ends meet, Cohen and Fader decided to alter this year’s individual care packages to be primarily gift cards to local grocery/drug stores, rather than comprised of many different items. A gift card allows an individual to go independently and purchase what they require when they need it most. The goal is to return to the large care-package event for 2023, if the COVID safety guidelines allow for it.
Rose’s Angels would not be possible without the support of the Kehila Society, family and friends, community volunteers and donors. Throughout the years, Cohen and Fader have created a strong connection with recipient agencies and so are able to purchase specialized items that are most needed by each agency, making the donations more personal. For example, for one not-for-profit this year, Rose’s Angels put together packages that included new hygiene items for both parent and baby, non-perishable snacks, crayons, gift cards to a local grocery store and a reusable bag.
To learn more about the community-based work done by Kehila Society of Richmond or to donate, visit kehilasociety.org or 604-241-9270.
Outside Richmond Jewish Day School, Courtney Cohen accepts a donation to Rose’s Angels, which was collected by RJDS students and staff. (photo from Rose’s Angels)
This past February, the eighth annual Rose’s Angels event took place, although it looked very different from that of previous years, due to COVID-19.
Rose’s Angels, which is under the umbrella of the Kehila Society of Richmond, was founded in memory of Courtney Cohen’s grandmothers, Rose Lewin and Babs Cohen. It was established after Courtney Cohen and family friend Lynne Fader came together to discuss how to best honour the grandmothers, while giving back to the community – Rose Lewin and Babs Cohen were both very philanthropic and instilled this value in their families. Since its inception in 2013, Rose’s Angels has donated more than 6,000 care packages to not-for-profit organizations within the City of Richmond.
With the pandemic impacting not-for-profits around the city, Cohen and Fader knew it was essential to push forward and fundraise for donation items and monetary gifts for recipient agencies. Gift cards, slippers, non-perishables, toiletries and feminine hygiene products were among the donations received from the community.
“We adapted and innovated this February’s event to allow for volunteers to still play an integral role,” said Cohen. “Volunteers assisted with pickup and delivery of the bulk donation items to our recipient agencies. Volunteers are an essential part of Rose’s Angels and we truly appreciate their support and dedication year after year.”
Rose’s Angels donated to 12 Richmond not-for-profit agencies servicing those most vulnerable. Among these agencies were Turning Point Recovery Society, Light of Shabbat (Chabad of Richmond), Richmond Family Place, Tikva Housing, Richmond Food Bank, Pathways Clubhouse, and Nova Transition House (Chimo Community Services).
“Although we were unable to host our large community care-package event in person this February, our community came together in another wonderful way,” said Cohen. “People donated generously and this allowed us to purchase specific items that were both needed and wanted by our recipient agencies.”
She added, “We look forward to 2022, when we can have our amazing volunteers together again to safely assemble the Rose’s Angels care packages.”
For more information about Rose’s Angels, or to make a donation, contact Cohen or Fader at the Kehila Society of Richmond, 604-241-9270, [email protected] or via kehilasociety.org.
Courtney Cohen holds a photo of her grandmothers, Rose Lewin, left, and Babs Cohen. (photo by Lianne Cohen Photography)
The seventh annual Rose’s Angels took place at Richmond Jewish Day School on Feb. 16. Held under the umbrella of the Kehila Society of Richmond, the event was founded by Courtney Cohen and Lynne Fader in 2013, in memory of Cohen’s grandmothers, Rose Lewin, who was a Holocaust survivor, and Babs Cohen. This year’s gathering saw the largest turnout for volunteers, with approximately 80 family, friends and community members coming together to assemble more than 1,000 care packages and several hundred warmth bundles, which were delivered to partner agencies.
A total of 24 not-for-profit agencies receive the care packages for their clients. Participating agencies included, but were not limited to, Richmond Family Place, Chimo Community Services, Jewish Family Services, Richmond Food Bank, Richmond Centre for Disability, Heart of Richmond AIDS Society, RainCity Housing, Richmond Multicultural Community Services and Gilmore Park United Church.
The packages consisted of toiletries, such as shampoo, soap and toothbrush; feminine hygiene products, including tampons, hair accessories, nail file and makeup; books, note pads, and arts and craft supplies; non-perishable food items, such as juice, oatmeal, granola bars, soup, coffee packets, trail mix and chocolate; and socks, gloves and scarves.
The items included in the packages were tailored to meet the needs of the recipients, as Fader and Cohen asked the agencies involved to survey their clients as to what items they would like to receive. The feminine hygiene and makeup products are donated via the Beauty for Babs component of Rose’s Angels, said Cohen.
“This event would not be possible,” she said, “if it wasn’t for our incredible donors and volunteers, who allow this event to be successful year after year. Individuals and businesses donate to Rose’s Angels through the Kehila Society of Richmond.”
She added, “People want to volunteer in their community and, sometimes, they don’t have the resources or connections that allow them to carry out their desire to give back. Rose’s Angels has grown into a strong pillar event in our community and it’s wonderful to see volunteers of all ages coming together to assemble care packages for those who they will never meet. It’s inspirational.”
Rose’s Angels takes place in February because, said Cohen, February is a special month – it’s Heart Month, Valentine’s Day and the month of her grandmother Rose Lewin’s birthday. Since its inception in 2013, the annual event has created and donated more than 5,000 care packages Richmond-wide, she said.
For more information about Rose’s Angels or to make a donation, contact Cohen or Fader at the Kehila Society of Richmond, 604-241-9270, or [email protected]. For more information about the Kehila Society, visit kehilasociety.org.
Some of the 70 volunteers who helped out at Rose’s Angels Feb. 17. Event founder Courtney Cohen is holding the bags and Kehila Society executive director Lynne Fader is standing in the front, with the long sweater. (photo by Lianne Cohen Photography)
For most people, getting out of the house and being somewhere by 9 a.m. might be no big deal. For me, especially on a weekend morning, it’s a challenge. But, at least once a year, it’s a challenge I enjoy.
As the owner and editor of the Jewish Independent, I’ve known of Rose’s Angels since it launched six years ago, but only first participated last year in the packing of the more than 1,000 care packages for Metro Vancouverites in need. Courtney Cohen, who created the annual event in honour of her grandmothers, Rose Lewin and Babs Cohen, with longtime friend Lynne Fader, was among the 18 Jewish community members under the age of 36 who were honoured by the Jewish Independent with a JI Chai Award in December 2017 for doing good. Having made the personal connection, I headed out to Richmond Jewish Day School a couple of months after the JI Chai Celebration to help out. It was such a fun experience that I went again this year.
The atmosphere at RJDS is like “Old Home Week.” This time around, I drove there with a friend – she brought the muffins and I made the coffee. As before, I ran into several people that I don’t see often. A well-organized venture, Rose’s Angels, which is run under the auspices of the Kehila Society of Richmond, provides coffee and pastry for those who can wait till they get to the school for their fix. Lists taped onto the wall tell volunteers at which station they’ll be working.
I must have done an OK job last year because I was once again assigned to putting together glove and sock bundles, wrapped in ribbon, colour-coded to indicate whether the bundle was for men, women or children. So absorbed was I in the work and conversation that I can’t say what others were doing, but there was much bustling about and, by noon, a big truck and several cars were stuffed with boxes to be delivered.
This year, said Cohen, 70 volunteers put together 1,200 packages, filled with necessities from toiletries to books to food to warm clothing, thanks to donations of items and money. The packages were distributed by a couple dozen organizations, including Turning Point Recovery Society, Heart of Richmond AIDS Society, Light of Shabbat program, Jewish Food Bank, Richmond Food Bank, United Way, Tikva Housing, Richmond Centre for Disability, Touchstone Family Services, St. Alban’s Drop-In Centre, Richmond Mental Health Society and Richmond Food Aid.
Scheduled to happen around Valentine’s Day, this year’s Rose’s Angels took place Feb. 17.
“Watching firsthand our community come together to give back on a long weekend, with family and friends is quite amazing,” Cohen told me when I asked her what was the most fun aspect of the day for her. “Seeing people of all ages working together to help package the care packages in such an organized manner is really something to behold.”
Fader, who is co-executive director of the Kehila Society, also enjoys the communal feel, as well as the diversity of the group that gathers to help. “It is always a fun, well-spirited, well-oiled machine that puts months of hard work gathering all the items together to produce a beautiful bundle of items,” she said.
In looking to the future, Fader would like to see the annual event become “bigger, better,” serving “more recipients in our community,” referring to Richmond as a whole, not only its Jewish community. “Although Rose’s Angels is an annual project,” she added, “the Kehila Society is daily working with our community agencies and partners to assist on a daily basis.”
“I see the success of Rose’s Angels growing from year to year with the involvement of the community partners and individuals,” said Cohen. “Personally, I already see the success and fulfilment that Rose’s Angels has given our community at large. Receiving thank you phone calls, emails and messages from the recipient agencies reminds me of the impact that Rose’s Angels is making to so many individuals.”
More than 70 volunteers came out Feb. 11 to help Rose’s Angels pack care bundles. (photo by Lianne Cohen)
The fifth annual Rose’s Angels was a success by every measure. This year, project co-founders Courtney Cohen and Lynne Fader facilitated multiple donors of goods in-kind and financial, led six months of collecting items and gathered more than 70 volunteers to pack more than 1,100 care bundles, plus additional bulk packages for Richmond-based outreach agencies.
Seventeen Richmond agencies – as well as Jewish Family Services’ Jewish Food Bank and Salvation Army’s Deborah’s Gate, both Vancouver-based programs – received these bundles. Each bag contained warm clothing items, hygiene products and food, among other things, to make a recipient’s day a little easier, and each was created to be specifically for men, women or children. The bags included a special note from the Rose’s Angels family, expressing hope that the items bring some enjoyment and a smile.
Agency recipients also included Touchstone Family Association, Chimo Community Services, Richmond High’s Colt Young Parent Program, Tikva Housing Society’s Storeys residence, Heart of Richmond AIDS Society, Richmond Mental Health, SUCCESS, Richmond Food Bank, Turning Point Recovery Society, Richmond Family Place, Pathways Clubhouse, Chabad Richmond’s Light of Shabbat Meals program and Gilmore Park Community Meal.
Cohen, who sits on the Kehila Society’s board of directors in the outreach position, and Fader, Kehila’s co-executive director, created Rose’s Angels to honour the memories and spirits of Cohen’s grandmothers, Rose Lewin and Babs Cohen. The note included with the bundles, said, “We share with you the long-lasting love and warmth these ladies conveyed.”
For those wishing to make a donation to Rose’s Angels or to get involved with the Kehila Society, contact the society office at 604-241-9270.
Rose’s Angels co-founders Courtney Cohen, left, and Lynne Fader, surrounded by some of the 60 volunteers who came out Feb. 12 to make 1,000 care packages for those less fortunate. (photos by Lianne Cohen Photography)
On Feb. 12, this year’s Rose’s Angels event drew 60 volunteers to Richmond Jewish Day School to create a total of 1,000 care packages. Each package was delivered to service organizations within Richmond, such as the Jewish Food Bank, Chimo Community Services, Richmond Family Place and Turning Point Recovery, among others.
Rose’s Angels was created four years ago by Richmond residents Courtney Cohen and Lynne Fader, with the idea to make care packages for those less fortunate, in memory of Cohen’s late grandmother, Rose Lewin. Lewin’s generosity and constant willingness to help those in need is the inspiration for this project.
With the event growing over the last two years, Rose’s Angels partnered this year with the Kehila Society of Richmond, a not-for-profit society that offers seniors programming and outreach.
Cohen has made it her goal this year to connect with new programs and service providers that may be interested in receiving these special packages for their clients. Each care package contains a new pair of gloves, a toque, socks, non-perishable foods and hygiene-care items, with other items selected with consideration of the organization it is going to.
Rose’s Angels gratefully accepts donations year round through the Kehila Society, 604-241-9270 or [email protected].
Rose’s Angels: Courtney Cohen, centre, is holding two bags, and Lynne Fader is to Cohen’s left. The two women created the group in honor of Rose Lewin, Cohen’s grandmother. (photo by Lianne Cohen)
Each Rose’s Angels contributor, supporter and volunteer has a story about why they give back to the community. With Rose’s Angels, it is not only to ensure that Rose Lewin’s legacy of love and generosity lives on, but also to support the many not-for-profit organizations in Richmond that desperately are in need of assistance.
Rose’s Angels was created by Richmond residents Lynne Fader and Courtney Cohen. Lewin, Cohen’s grandmother, was a well-respected and much-loved Holocaust survivor who believed in doing good for everyone she could.
Now in its third year, Rose’s Angels, which is supported and endorsed by the Richmond Kehila Society, just wrapped up its Feb. 14 Care Package Campaign. With the help of 40-plus volunteers, more than 400 toiletry and non-perishable-food care packages, along with 750 warmth bundles (toques, scarves, gloves and socks), were packaged and distributed to a variety of nonprofit organizations in Richmond servicing individuals living in poverty or well below low-income standards. Recipients included the St. Alban Drop-In Centre, Touchstone Family Services, Chimo Outreach, Richmond Multicultural Community Services, Richmond Food Bank, Jewish Food Bank, Turning Point Recovery, Richmond Family Place, Pathways Clubhouse and Light of Shabbat Program.
“It was very fitting to coordinate this event on Valentine’s Day,” said Cohen, “as this is a day when people go on dates and it’s supposed to be ‘extra-special,’ where people buy each other cards, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, roses, teddy bears and other stuff that basically tells them they love them…. We wanted to share our love within the Richmond community.”
Anyone wishing to make a donation to Rose’s Angels should contact the Richmond Kehila Society at 604-241-9270.
Lynne Fader, Courtney Cohen and Toby Rubin hold some of the 500 care packages that were distributed to the needy in Richmond recently by Rose’s Angels, an organization founded by the Kehila Society and Cohen, in memory of her grandmother Rose. Each package contained toiletries and food, while additional bundles supplied socks, toque, gloves and scarves. The packages were distributed to CHIMO, Richmond Family Place, the Jewish Food Bank and Turning Point Recovery House.