Hello, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Allie Geiger Khanna. I live in Asbury Park and have been a member of Temple Beth Miriram for a year now. I’d like to briefly tell you about a new mutual aid initiative we’re starting at the temple this winter, to assist unhoused women in our community.

There are very few safe places for unhoused women in Monmouth County. While some shelters exist, most of them are geared towards men; and temporary housing vouchers come with a lot of red tape and rely on the availability of hotel and motel rooms and a person’s ability to get there.

The Women’s Hospitality Network is a coalition of faith organizations that offer overnight housing to women from December through March. Churches in Asbury Park take turns hosting unhoused women, providing them with a meal and safe place to stay each night of the week. On Friday nights, a church in our neighborhood hosts, and a small group of us provides dinner for the women. I usually contribute an appetizer and dessert, while another volunteer handles a side and a salad, and a third makes a main.

I am frequently asked why I cook for mutual aid organizations, why I spend my time and resources so consistently in this way. This question is normally phrased in a complimentary way, that I am doing this for my community. I usually explain that mutual aid work and specifically feeding people, is something that I also do for me. It does a lot for me to be able to work on making the world I want to live in. It does even more for me to do this kind of work alongside people with the same goal. It is an important and rewarding part of my week to spend time doing something for my community with my community. And if I ever had to reach my hand out for assistance, I know there would be like-minded people reaching back to me.

In that spirit, Temple Beth Miriam will be partnering with Trinity Church in Asbury as part of the Women’s Hospitality Network to provide meals to unhoused women. We would like to begin by providing dinner one night a month when Trinity is providing shelter. We will be assigned a specific day of the week later this fall, and the work begins in December. If you are interested in contributing a dish or helping with serving and cleanup, we have a signup sheet in the lobby. I’ll be emailing times and dates out with slots to sign up later this year.

Thank you for your time, and please feel free to reach out with any questions.

Allie Geiger allie.geiger@gmail.com