Events included Repair the World’s Thanksgiving Bag Packing Nov. 23, while a Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC) team had a Movable Feast Nov. 24. JVC also concluded their casserole challenge Dec. 3, which collected homemade casseroles for Living Classrooms and St. Francis Neighborhood Center; both work to end poverty. According to Abigail Malischostak, JVC partnerships manager, the goal was 300.
Sixteen Repair the World Baltimore volunteers packed and distributed nearly 400 food bags for UA House residents in need. The reusable bags are full of stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, and canned vegetables, according to Diana Goldsmith, project manager, Repair the World. Volunteers picked up last minute food items, packed bags, and created crafts for recipients to enjoy. For example, they made Hershey’s Kiss turkeys, pudding cup turkeys, and t-shirt bags to carry turkeys.
“Volunteers also participated in contextual learning, to learn about the issue of food insecurity, and explore how Jewish values connect to this kind of service work,” said Goldsmith.
Temple Isaiah in Fulton recently did some volunteer work as well, according to Rabbi Craig Axler. A group of members visited seniors in assisted living at Arbor Terrace in Fulton Nov. 15 after school.
“I think that the holidays in general, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, it is a time a lot of us feel this strong connection with families. It would be very easy to forget there are individuals in facilities or the community without local family or anyone,” said Axler.
J Camps held a Friendsgiving Nov. 24 with 55 people at the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC. They shared a feast, made cards for isolated seniors, and assembled Turkey-themed snack bags for an after school program.
“While Thanksgiving is not an explicitly Jewish holiday, its values are inherently Jewish. J Camps Friendsgiving gave us the chance to give thanks for being together and the blessings we share,” said Emily Stern, senior director of camping.
Also, the Associated matched all Dec. 3 gifts for #GivingTuesday.
However, Malischostak reminded people to volunteer year-round, and that the needs of the community extend past the holiday season.