When Steve Weinstein was growing up in Ocean Township, he would spend Fridays with his father, David, distributing food to the needy through the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Monmouth County (JFCS).
On many Fridays, his wife, Wendy, and three daughters, Allie, 19, Sydney, 16, and Kate, 13, drive 90 minutes or more from their home in North Caldwell to Asbury Park to pack and hand out bags of food distributed through JFCS.
Weinstein wanted a way to memorialize his father, who died in 2012. David Weinstein was an Asbury Park lawyer and longtime board member at JFCS, so Steve decided to turn their mutual love of golf into a fund-raiser to benefit JFCS’ numerous food service programs, including the Friday food program, the kosher Meals on Wheels, and Thanksgiving and Passover programs.
Four years ago, Weinstein came up with “108 Puts Food on the Plate,” in which he plays 108 holes of golf, or six rounds, at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell.
“It is also chai, life,” said Weinstein of the numbers one and eight in his catchy title, referring to the number 18 that spells the word chai when transposed into Hebrew letters.
Supporters contributed money for each hole or birdie Weinstein shot—there were 10.
“I started at 5:30 in the morning, walked 34 miles over 12 hours, and it was 96 degrees that day,” said Weinstein, who was accompanied by a friend who carried his clubs.
The latest fund-raiser, which was held July 16 and netted about $50,000, brought the four-year total to more than $300,000.
“[My father] always took me along to deliver food and now my kids do it,” he said. “This seemed like the perfect way for me to memorialize my father.”
For Weinstein and his family, helping is a way of life. Wendy and Steve participate annually in the National Council of Jewish Women Essex County Section’s Back2School Store, this year held July 29 at Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston.
They served as personal shoppers, helping some of the 800 children select from the assortment of school supplies, backpacks, and clothes.
“We take the kids around and make sure they get the right sizes while their parents get health services outside,” said Weinstein.
The couple also recently became founders of the Two Rabbis Society at Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, which is helping pay the salary of newly hired Associate Rabbi Ari Lucas. They are also longtime donors to the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.