19 March

Hamsa: Food For Refugees, Dinner And Art For the Mansion

by Jon Katz

My friend Eve Marko brought me a Hamsa from the Arab quarter of Jerusalem. Depicting the right hand, it’s a palm-shaped amulet or artwork used as a sign of peace and protection throughout the Middle East. It is believed to date back to Ancient Egypt or Carthage.

I’m putting it to work warding off evil spirits. Today, our work with the refugees and the Mansion over the next few weeks is coming into focus.

As you can see in the picture, a big fat bunch of gift cards arrived from the Price Chopper grocery chain in Albany today, more are coming in next week.

I haven’t counted them all, but I believe there are $2,000 worth, purchased in small denominations from the Army Of Good for the refugee students and their families, many of whom are short of food now and skipping meals.

That will only get worse, and soon.

You can buy Price Chopper Gift Cards for the refugee families here.  You can buy a card that fits your budget. They need to be shipped to me, as mail is uncertain at the school right now: Jon Katz, 2502 State Route 22, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

I will bring them to the teachers, who will distribute them to the families as needed.

Bishop Maginn is closed and will perhaps be closed for a good long while, and we are sending care packages, but need these gift cards to give to Sue Silverstein and the teachers.

I’m also raising funds to purchase 20 laptops for the students in the school’s mobile classroom, they are scarce right now, I’m hunting around for them.

Many of the school’s students have no computers or any experience with social media. If you wish to contribute, you can do so via Paypal, [email protected] or by check, Jon Katz, Mansion/Refugee Fund, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

These families had little, to begin with, many are losing their jobs already.

I’ve also been talking to the Mansion about perking up the stir-crazy and closeted residents (no visitors allowed.) Monday, I’m sponsoring a special soup, sandwich and dessert lunch to be catered by Jean’s Place. Next Friday, I’m organizing a cookies, cupcakes and dessert treats after lunch.

On April 3, I’m sponsoring a Chinese dinner, always a favorite at the Mansion, for 43 people. In addition, the Mansion will soon post an arts and movie Wish List, we’re looking to offer as lively a range of activities as we can.

I’ll keep everyone posted about that. The residents really need some stimulation now.

Food is important at the Mansion, meals define the day and can lift the spirits.

The Mansion has also asked if Maria and I will do some videos from the farm and send them to the Mansion to broadcast. We’re doing that for Bishop Maginn’s Mobile Classroom as well.

So we’ll be broadcasting regular from her as the coronavirus does it’s thing and hopefully, moves on.

We are going to be busy during this time, and there is no reason the virus can halt small acts of great kindness. I can’t go to any one of them, but it’s exciting to figure out how I can help.

I think the Hamsa is bringing some good karma.

Your assistance in carrying out this work is welcome. You can donate via Paypal, [email protected], or by check, Jon Katz, Mansion/Refugee Fund, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.


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