Repair the World’s Philadelphia chapter added a monthly day of service this year to its slate of activities, so holding it on April 2 — worldwide Good Deeds Day — seemed a natural fit.
“We are always open to new opportunities,” said Rabbi Seth Goren, the executive director of nonprofit Repair the World: Philadelphia.
Founded in 2007, Good Deeds Day is an annual day of community service; 88 countries have participated in the day at some point, according to the organization’s website. The 2016 installment of the day featured 1.5 million participants from 75 countries who took part in 14,000 projects. More than 4 million hours of service were donated.
As part of the local effort, Repair the World, in conjunction with Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, will be cleaning the Har Nebo Cemetery at 6061 Oxford Ave. in Northeast Philadelphia from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 2. The cleanup is capped at 100 volunteers.
The cemetery is near the recently vandalized Mount Carmel Cemetery, which has the same owners. The cleanup has extra meaning for Goren, who has relatives buried there.
In addition, Repair the World’s day of service will be going on at several locations throughout Philadelphia.
That includes urban gardening at La Finquita (423 Master St.) from 10 a.m. to noon, urban gardening at the Viola Street Garden (4233 Viola St.) from 1 to 4 p.m., cobb oven and bottle brick-making at One Art Community Center (1431-39 N. 52nd St.) from noon to 3 p.m., organizing with the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia (4223 Wayne Ave.) from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and packaging and delivering food with the Jewish Relief Agency (10980 Dutton Road) from 8:30 to 11 a.m.
Goren said he has enjoyed watching a sense of community grow.
“Our regular volunteers are incredibly warm and friendly,” he said. “Watching them develop their relationships over time … has been very heartwarming.”
The volunteers comprise a mix of ages, although millennials tend to predominate, Goren said.
A major component of Repair the World in Philadelphia is its “Philly Farm Crew,” Goren said. Working with the Jewish Farm School in West Philadelphia, the crew organizes volunteer activities at urban farms and gardens throughout the city. That includes the April 2 events at La Finquita and the Viola Street Garden.
“Sometimes it’s harvesting, sometimes it’s weeding — whatever is needed,” Goren said.
Although April 2 will be a big day in terms of volunteering, Repair the World plans other events throughout the month, including the screening on April 6 of Refugee Kids: One Small School Takes on the World. The documentary about a summer school in New York City for newly arrived children who have escaped war and crisis screens at 6 p.m. at the Repair the World: Philadelphia Workshop at 4029 Market St.
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