I accompanied the solelimot and chotrimot on their trip to First Fruits Farm for Yom Tzedek. This farm is unique in that it donates all of its produce to local food banks, and it is run purely off of volunteers, like us! The farm is about forty minutes away, so we loaded up on the bus and set off for Freeland, Maryland. Once we arrived, we were shown a video on the impact of the farm and learned about those that we were helping. Then, it was off to the fields! First Fruits grows many different crops, but today, they had us picking tomatoes. The chanichimot all got buckets and wandered up and down the rows of tomatoes, picking the ripe fruit and leaving the green ones for a later group. Once they filled up a bucket, they emptied it into a truck and kept on picking tomatoes. Though it was hot with the sun right overhead, we made sure everyone stayed hydrated.
This was an important activity for the kids to participate in; for one, they got to exert their inner farmer, but they also got to participate in giving their labor as tzedakah, or charity. Tzedakah comes from the Hebrew word tzedek, meaning justice. It is a Jewish value to pursue justice whenever possible, which is why we take the chanichimot to the farm to volunteer their time.