Starting a gemach is a great act of chessed. For a full discussion of the concept of gemach, see pp. 82-84 in The Neshamah Should Have an Aliyah.
Below you'll find a variety of ideas for different types of gemachs you can establish, along with some practical advice on how to get started.
Car Carriers/Roof Racks
Chairs and Tables
Children's Wedding Gowns
Containers for Moving
Gemaras - English and Hebrew
Medication - Over the Counter
Pack and Plays
Pidyon Haben Coins
Pidyon Haben Trays
Shalom Zachor Food
Tables and Chairs
Tablets for Tablecloths
Pack & Plays
Typically, when a guest forgets accommodations for their child, they will need a Pack and Play. We highly recommend the Graco brand. You should start with 4 or 5 of them, and it's a wonderful touch if you also provide the fitted sheet that it uses. Target and other chain stores sell them. What a wonderful way to help out families and guests in your community. They will certainly appreciate it.
You have a decorative talent. You know what can really make someone's Shalom Zachar, Bris, Bar Mitzvah, Sheva Brachos or any other simcha take on a new beautiful dimension. Why not share it by purchasing some nice simcha enhancers such as small vases (perhaps with reusable silk flowers), pretty cake and candy dishes, as well as pastry holder centerpieces. Usually, these are not things that a baal simcha would have in their home. So let them get it from your simcha centerpiece gemach, and help make their simcha special!
Tables & Chairs
When someone has a simcha and needs to get hold of some extra chairs and tables, a gemach is the first place that they will look. We
recommend the Lifetime style tables & chairs, which usually carry a 10-year
warranty. There are many different styles that you can offer to
loan (round, square, rectangular) but the 6' rectangle table is
the standard. You can purchase these, or other brands and styles, at your local Costco store. It's probably best to start off with 5 tables and 25 chairs, but any
amount would be fine. Now you can attend simchas without even showing up!
If someone is having a few Shabbos meals in the shul, they may want to enhance the tables with a nice challah cover. We recommend you go into your local Judaica store and tell them it is for a gemach -- they will probably sell them to you at a special price. If you'd like, you can get a
l'iluy nishmas embroidered on the fabric. We recommend ordering about 10 covers, as well as a few extra plastic covers to replace when wear and tear calls for it. What a great zechus for the niftar who was mechabaid the Shabbos!
Someone having a simcha during the winter months will truly appreciate this chessed.
For as low as $65 you can get some very strong folding coat racks
that are easy to store and easy to transport. These can be purchased online or at stores like Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and others. We recommend getting 4 coat racks to start and about 30 hangers per rack.
People in your community love to participate in the mitzvah of Hachnosas Orchim...but might need your help. Although the beds are slightly costly, the "return" is certainly
phenomenal. We think you should start with 3 on hand. What a GREAT gemach to start in memory of a loved one who too valued this mitzvah so.
A common gemach that is very practical and a terrific chessed. The best rated GPS is the Garmin Nuvi.
Hand trucks, dollies and carts...oh my! A tremendous chessed that can literally save someone's back! Home Depot and Lowe's
have a large assortment of hand trucks, dollies and carts. People who are moving will especially appreciate the efficiency these items bring to their move. A few of each and you will be helping people roll into their new home with ease.
"Our guests have arrived but we did not realize that their baby
needs a seat...but not an adult chair..." Come to the rescue and
provide either the commercial grade wooden high chair or the
standard home style. Wow, what a relief.
A ladder gemach is another unique idea. Home Depot has a nice selection of sturdy ladders that you can choose from. For most home repairs and succah building, 6' ladders would be fine.
Advice on starting a money-lending gemach can be found on p. 84 of The Neshamah Should Have an Aliyah.
* Ozer Dalim - 718-434-2228; you can donate to one of their gemach funds, or they can help you create a new gemach fund with even a relatively small amount of money.
* Rabbi Moshe Yoselovsky - 732-901-1945; offers guidance and ideas for setting up all types of gemachs
* Rabbi Mordechai Rosenzweig - 732-370-5674; offers guidance on setting up a money-lending gemach
* Contact us for advice on setting up a gemach.
Your gemach will really add a wonderful touch to someone's simcha. We suggest you go to your local seforim store and look at the variety of benchers they have for sale. Select a regular style and maybe another higher quality one, possibly leather bound. Get a bulk price on both and you will be ready to enhance a simcha as well as save the baal simcha the extra expense of having to purchase new ones.
Click here: How to Publicize Your Gemach