Whether she’s stuffing food into a backpack to feed children in need or cramming clothes into her suitcase for a trip to Australia, 74-year-old Dorothy Quint prefers a busy life.
A member of Temple Emanu-El’s Sisterhood, Quint volunteers every other Wednesday to help fill backpacks with coloring sheets, books and nonperishable foods so 40 children at Lakeview Elementary School can have food and fun on the weekends when they’re unable to receive free or reduced school lunches. The East County resident also created the synagogue’s inaugural Interfaith Symbols of the Faiths Tea, which runs from 1 to 3 p.m. March 25, at Temple Emanu-El.
Q: What’s the financial impact on the Temple for feeding 40 children every two weeks?
A: To have this program, we have to raise funds. The cost per child per year is around $60. We received 50 boxes of canned meats, soups and other nonperishables in November from the Mayors’ Feed the Hungry program. We also rely on donations from members of Temple Emanu-El; sometimes children donate their bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah checks. We shop at Save-A-Lot and get donations from Panera Bread, too.
It's so important to respect people for who they are, not what they look like or their religion.
— Dorothy Quint
Q. What backpack items are the most popular and unpopular?
A: They love Kraft macaroni and cheese, pudding, popcorn, cookies, hot chocolate and fruits and vegetables. We’ve been trying to put more healthy foods in the sacks. The social worker at the school tells us they didn’t like squash. We tried that once and it made a squishy squash mess.
Q: If you were stranded, what would you want in your backpack?
A: I would definitely want some kind of protein, maybe peanut butter. Crackers, applesauce and raisins keep you full and can last a while, too. Those types of things stay fresh the longest.
Q: What is the Symbols of the Faiths Tea event?
A: The event will feature representatives of Judaism, Hinduism and the Methodist and Episcopalian Christian denominations. People will discuss the symbols of their religions and what they mean, followed by a question and answer session. This event is part of my interfaith series. Our first event focused on religions’ views of stages of life, and the second event featured art, food and dance of religions.
Q: Why create this series?
A: When I was in college, I took a comparative religion class. Since then, different religions always fascinated me. There’s more out there in the world than three or four religions. I grew up in New York, in a community that was multi-religious and multiracial. I had a lot of exposure to different types of people, and working with special needs children opened my eyes to how people accept or reject each other. It’s so important to respect people for who they are, not what they look like or their religion.
Q: You’re a travel enthusiast. Where’s the coolest place you’ve visited?
A: The uniqueness of Turkey’s land and the wonderful people made that visit 10 years ago my favorite. I love to cook, and the food was fabulous; it matched the area where you ate. When you were close to the ocean, you had wonderful fish meals. If you were up in the mountains, you’d eat delicious lamb shanks.
Q: Do you collect keepsakes from your travels?
A: My mother collected teacups and teapots, so now I do, too. From Holland, I have a teapot that has double spouts. On one side, you put strong tea and on the opposite side you put water. So, if you liked to have your tea a little stronger, you wouldn’t add a lot of water to the other side. I also collect dreidels.
— Amanda Sebastiano