Thanksgiving is a time for many of us to express our gratitude for the blessings of food, family, friendship, health and prosperity. It is also a time to reflect and act upon our obligations as Jews, guided by the principles of tzedakah, justice and tikkun olam, repair of the world; to share our time and resources with those less blessed. Volunteer opportunities abound within Federation and the many worthy organizations that we fund.
Federation's Mitzvah Food Project provides food and basic staples in a caring and dignified manner to those in our community who are in need, and it works to educate and advocate on their behalf. It maintains a network of five pantries in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Currently, there is a need for substitute drivers to deliver food packages twice a month at pantry sites based at Beth Sholom Congregation, 8231 Old York Rd., Elkins Park, and the Kaiserman JCC, 45 Haverford Rd., Wynnewood. Routes typically take between 30 and 60 minutes.
Also at Kaiserman, volunteers are needed to pick up produce at the Produce Junction market in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia and deliver to the pantry site. All expenses will be promptly reimbursed.
At the Klein JCC, 10100 Jamison Ave., Northeast Philadelphia, assistants are needed to pack food packages, take inventory, organize pantry (ability to lift up to 50 lbs.) and help with food deliveries.
In Center City Philadelphia, office volunteers are needed to assist with phone calls, data entry and other clerical tasks to support Mitzvah Food Project staff at the Jewish Community Services Building, 2100 Arch St. There also is a need for drivers to make monthly deliveries of food packages in their own cars to senior adults in South Philadelphia.
At Congregation Tifereth Israel, 2909 Bristol Rd., Bensalem, one regular volunteer and two to three substitutes are needed to deliver 10 food packages to Galilee Pavilion. The time and day of delivery are flexible.
Bring Shabbat Programming to Seniors in Center City -- Volunteers are needed every Friday to support staff who coordinate a weekly Kabbalat Shabbat program for older adults at the Jewish Community Services Building, 2100 Arch St.
Greet participants and assist with registration from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Help hand out name tags, collect donations for lunch and transportation, escort seniors on the elevator from the lobby to the 2nd floor and into the boardroom.
Volunteers are needed to set tables and help serve lunch between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. After lunch, from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., assist program participants in getting on the elevator and riding down to the lobby where they will board their Paratransit buses.
Distribute Food Through the Jewish Relief Agency -- Volunteers are needed monthly to package kosher, non-perishable food in boxes and deliver the food packages to each of the recipient families according to pre-determined delivery routes, complete with driving directions and maps. Volunteers may stop back at the warehouse to return any undeliverable boxes or, if there are no boxes to be returned, they may mail or fax the delivery route to the JRA business office. Most routes take between 30 to 60 minutes to complete.
To volunteer, call the JRA office at 610-660-0190.
JRAid -- A Collaborative Connection for Volunteers and Those in Need -- JRAid was created as a project of the Jewish Relief Agency in 2011 as a means to provide services to the community beyond the agency's monthly food distribution program.
Whether one is unemployed, underemployed, or disabled, gaps in many programs often leave people without the ability to properly care for themselves, their families and their homes. With fixed or limited income and scarce contact with family, seniors are especially vulnerable.
In its initial phase, JRAid will partner with JFRE, Federation's affinity group for real estate and building trades professionals, Federation Housing, Inc., and JEVS Human Services to provide home improvements and modifications. Utilizing sophisticated web-based technology, JRAid works to directly connect volunteers with opportunities to help families in need while also allowing users to customize the way they give their time and money, answering simple requests with simple solutions.
For more information, call 610-660-0190 or visit: www.jraid.org .
Adopt a Family for Chanukah -- Help a family to enjoy the holidays this year by adopting one of our vulnerable families in the Heart to Heart Program at the Klein JCC in Northeast Philadelphia. Heart to Heart works with these families to make positive life changes to enhance quality of life and self-sufficiency. Your gift can make a difference to one or more of these families in need.
Help Drive Older Adults to Where They Want and Need to Go -- Be part of JFCS' Silver Wheels Volunteer Program and provide easy, accessible and affordable transportation for older adults. Silver Wheels volunteer drivers help older adults get to: non-emergency medical appointments; perform errands like food shopping, banking and picking up prescriptions; visit friends and loved ones in hospitals and nursing homes; attend social activities and more.
For more information, call Lisa Tischler, director of volunteer services, at 267-256-2082 or email LTischler@jfcsphilly.org .
Bring Comfort To Those in Hospice Care -- The Abramson Hospice of the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life is seeking volunteers to provide support to hospice patients living in Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs. Volunteers make friendly visits to patients and their family members.
Visits include talking, listening, sharing a hobby and providing a compassionate presence at a difficult time in life.
Meet and Greet Visitors to the National Museum of American Jewish History -- Help create a positive experience for all visitors who pass through the museum's doors. Visitor Services volunteers will serve on the museum's front line, welcoming, directing and otherwise assisting guests, to ensure that their visits are easy and enjoyable ones. No special education or knowledge base is required.
For more information, call Johanna Moss, 215-923-3811, Ext. 123, or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Find the Ideal B'nai Mitzvah Project -- The Mitzvah Bowl, an organization founded by two Montgomery County mothers, provides a listing of volunteer opportunities for Bar and Bat Mitzvah projects, high school students looking to fulfill community service hours and resources for youth groups, clubs, scouting troops and families seeking a way to help others.
The organizers research community organizations that have volunteer needs and post them on www.themitzvahbowl.com
, to help young people select an opportunity best suited to their needs.