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Make an Impact. Repair the World.

Skills for Impact: Why Skilled Volunteering Matters:

If you have a drive to use your time and talent to help others, you are in the right place!  Skilled volunteering is a critical tool in a non-profit’s toolbox, it allows them to build their capacity and grow their impact. “Organizations that fundamentally leverage volunteers and their skills towards their mission are significantly more adaptable, sustainable and capable of going to scale.”  A good skilled volunteer uses their expertise to lift the burden from nonprofit staff who may not have pre-existing training or experience needed for a given project.

Getting in the Volunteer Mindset:

Approaching a new organization and a new project is a skill in itself, so we thought that we would give you somewhere to get started.  Here are some tips inspired by one of our favorite Jewish quotes from the Jewish wisdom book, Pirkei Avot2:

Who is one that is wise? One who learns from every person, as it is said: “From all my teachers have I gained understanding.” (Psalm 119:99)

Hold a learning posture.  You might know tips, tricks, and best practices for a given project, but make sure that you are also listening deeply to the needs of the non-profit and their community.  Then you can mesh the two together to create the most helpful outcomes.

Who is mighty? One who conquers their impulse to evil, as it is written, “One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one who rules over their spirit than one who conquers a city.” (Proverbs 16:32)

Be patient.  The non-profit that you are matched to might not have experience working with a consultant, and helping them share their needs and the most useful information to you might not always feel ‘efficient’ to you.

Who is rich? One who is happy with their portion, as it says (Psalms, 128:2), “If you eat of toil of your hands, fortunate are you, and good is to you”; “fortunate are you” in this world, “and good is to you” in the World to Come.

Be content. Sometimes the most important work is the least ‘sexy.’  Sticking with this opportunity will create short-term and long-term benefits for everyone involved.
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1  “Partnering with Funders to Unleash the Power of Volunteers” | Leighty Foundation
2 Pirkei Avot 4:1 [AJWS translation]

Who is honored? One who honors the creations, as it says, “Those who honor Me I will honor, but those who scorn Me will be despised” (I Samuel 2:30) 

Be respectful.  If you extend respect, you will be respected, and that positive relationship will make for the best experience and the best work!

Learning about the work: 

You have the opportunity to volunteer with organizations with a wide variety of missions.  Those that we are bringing onto the platform focus on addressing poverty and its reverberations on local, national, and global scales.  There is way more to say about these topics than we could fit into a few paragraphs, but we’ve collected some resources for you to check out to learn more about why these issue areas are so important.

As you read, watch, and listen, consider what surprises you, what do you want to know more about and how might what you are learning influence your approach to volunteering.

Read

Watch

Listen:

  • 1619 Project Podcast from the New York Times Magazine “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”
  • NPR’s Codeswitch Podcast discusses race “from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between,” on a local, national, and international level.
  • Jews, Justice, and Global Giving” podcast episode from OLAM’s Global Torah interviewing Ruth Messinger and Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, discussing how we prioritize our giving.
  • Weekly Economics Podcast from the New Economics Foundation explores topics of economic justice and poverty.

Reflection: 

As you sign up to volunteer through repairtheworld.catchafire.org/volunteer-now and find an organization to contribute your talents to, consider what it would look and feel like to embody a volunteer mindset.

In Jewish tradition, kavannah, or intention, comes from the same root as the word for “direction,” meaning that building up and constantly honing our intentions will help us stay on the path towards a more just world.

To get you started, find inspiration for intention setting and reflection, here are a few resources that we love to return to:

We can’t wait to hear about your experience! Email us at [email protected] with questions, thoughts and insight on your experience.

Jewish Community Members Foster Work of East End Cooperative Ministry

This originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle on May 6, 2020.

The need for East End Cooperative Ministry’s (EECM) food pantry has escalated in the midst of the global health crisis. Repair the World Pittsburgh Fellows have continued to support EECM by assisting to pack and distribute food.

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Spring Into Solidarity

Jewish tradition is inspired by rabinnical sages, who would open their doors when they ate meals and said, “Whoever is in need, let that person come and eat.” [Ta’anit 20b]

During these unprecedented times of need, Repair the World’s commitment to support our nonprofit service partners in feeding people who are food insecure is unwavering. To express that support, Repair launched Spring Into Solidarity, a fundraising race to mobilize Jews and their communities to show up for our partner organizations on the front lines of COVID-19 relief efforts. 

The Great Big Jewish Food Fest is collaborating with Repair the World to support 15 partner organizations raising at least $1,000 each. All funds raised will go directly to each organization to help meet their immediate and rising needs resulting from the COVID-19 crisis

If you would like to give generally to the Spring Into Solidarity fund, donate here. If you’re looking to donate to a specific organization across Repair’s nine communities, use the partner guide below to learn more and donate. Thank you for your support! 

REPAIR THE WORLD’S FOOD JUSTICE PARTNERS:

ATLANTA

  • Concrete Jungle
    Concrete Jungle transforms overlooked and underutilized fruit trees and land into a year-round food source for food banks, shelters and people in need. Donate here.
  • SWEEAC
    Southwest Ecumenical Emergency Assistance Center (SWEEAC) provides food, clothing, household items, and resources to those with emergency needs to support self- sufficiency, prevent hunger, and address homelessness. Donate here.

BALTIMORE

  • Baltimore Hunger Project
    Baltimore Hunger Project is dedicated to eliminating the growing problem of weekend childhood hunger by consistently providing weekend food packages to food insecure children in a compassionate and dignified manner. Donate here.

BROOKLYN

CHICAGO

  • The Night Ministry
    The Night Ministry works to provide meals, housing, health care and human connection to those struggling with poverty or homelessness. Donate here.

DETROIT

  • Gleaners Food Bank 
    Gleaners Community Food Bank exists to provide households with access to sufficient, nutritious food, and related resources. Donate here.

HARLEM

MIAMI

  • Health in the Hood
    Health in the Hood connects low-income families to healthy, free, local food by transforming vacant land into vibrant vegetable gardens and teaching wellness workshops. Donate here.

PHILADELPHIA

  • Broad Street Ministry
    Broad Street Ministry transforms Philadelphia’s city and institutions by embracing the individual needs of our most vulnerable sisters & brothers. Donate here.
  • Jewish Relief Agency
    ​Jewish Relief Agency serves diverse low-income individuals by relieving hunger, improving lives, and strengthening the Philadelphia community. Donate here.

PITTSBURGH

  • Just Harvest
    Just Harvest educates, empowers and mobilizes people to eliminate hunger, poverty, and economic injustice by influencing public policy, engaging in advocacy, and connecting people to public benefits. Donate here.
  • Jewish Association on Aging
    The mission of the Jewish Association on Aging is to honor and enhance the lives of older adults by providing a continuum of individualized, quality care consistent with Jewish values and tradition. Donate here.

Leveling the #GivingTuesdayNow Playing Field

This originally appeared in eJewish Philanthropy on May 4, 2020. 

“For organizations run by, funded by, or serving women and non-binary people, the crisis is hitting even harder. The already fragile and gendered ecosystem of nonprofit organizational support is showing even more significant signs of collapse for women’s organizations.

We want to examine why this is happening, and how you can help address these critical issues this #GivingTuesdayNow.”

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For Millenials, Virtual Shabbat Motivates Neighborhood Connections

This originally appeared in the Forward on April 30, 2020.

For many Jewish millennials, living far from family and remaining socially distant from friends, virtual Shabbat dinners have offered a way into community, tradition, and what it means to serve others.

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Direct Service in the Age of Coronavirus

This originally appeared in Jewish Philanthropy on April 30, 2020. 

During the Coronavirus pandemic direct service organizations are still mobilizing to meet the urgent needs of the most vulnerable. National Council of Jewish Women CEO, Sheila Katz, NCJW Board of Directors Vice President, Rabbi Lori Koffman, Repair the World CEO and President, Cindy Greenberg, and American Jewish World Service – AJWS Global Ambassador, Ruth Messinger shared ways on how one can help serve their community during this time. 

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I’m Dying to Be Able to See People

This originally appeared in The New York Jewish Week on April 29, 2020. 

“Several other Jewish groups have expanded their work with seniors since the coronavirus crisis began…Volunteers from Repair the World, the Jewish service organization, deliver food packages to isolated Holocaust survivors in South Brooklyn and keep in touch as pen pals, said Rachel Figurasmith, executive director of Repair the World NYC.”

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Repair the World with Mutual Aid

Repair the World with Mutual Aid!

Mutual Aid initiatives are responding to meet the heightened needs of people across communities. These networks have gained momentum in order to provide necessary relief from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Repair the World staff and Fellows are directly involved in mutual aid efforts. Check out our #MutualAid campaign below where you can learn more about what it is and how to get involved to support your neighbors!

EDIT: Mutual aid is an important way to support and be supported by the community. It has been a tool for grass-roots community care and support long before the pandemic shut down businesses across the country.  Due to the combined public health threats of COVID-19 and police brutality, both compounded by, the work of mutual aid very crucial right now. We are highlighting ways that you can get involved in local mutual aid initiatives and anti-racist actions that support our local communities.

Mutual Aid Slide 1: What is Mutual AidMutual Aid Slide 2: Neighbors coming together in a community-led movement to support those who face barriers to access resources and services.Mutual Aid Slide 3: Mutual Aid Is - centering the needs of those most impactedmutual aid slide 4#MutualAidMondays

Want to talk with a member of our team? Contact [email protected] to get connected or to share information about your mutual aid initiatives. Posted below are a sampling of initiatives across our communities that you can get involved with today.

  • National Listings of Mutual Aid Networks
    • Mutualaidhub.org
    • https://helpinghands.community/help
    • itsgoingdown.org/c19-mutual-aid/
    • Relief and Resources for Undocumented Immigrants
  • Detroit
    • Donate to Auntie Na’s Food Box Delivery Program through our partner organization, Detroit Jews For Justice.
    • Pass Your Bucks to redirect federal emergency stimulus dollars toward non-profit organizations supporting communities who are least likely to receive stimulus checks.
  • Pittsburgh
    • Support grocery access with Ratzon: Center for Healing and Resistance’s grocery fund! You can venmo @Ratzon-Food-Distro
    • Donate to neighbors through Open Hand Ministries for grocery/rent/mortgage support!
    • The Wellness Collective created the Community Delivery Hotline to ensure that folks with limited transportation and resources have access to their basic needs. Sign up to get resources delivered to you or volunteer to be a driver, intake coordinator, or switchboard operator.
    • Need support and/or can you provide relief to others? Get involved with the Pittsburgh Mutual Aid network!
    • Fundraise for or donate to the PGH Artists Emergency Fund to provide relief for artist/industry folks, many of whom cannot access unemployment and have lost all sources of income for the duration of the pandemic.
  • Chicago
    • Seniors, those living with disability, and folks living in food deserts are most at risk with the continual spread of the virus. Chicago Repair is working with partner: My Block, My Hood, My City to deliver groceries as well as response packages, to ensure access to hand sanitizer, health supplements, toiletries and food; to participate, email [email protected]

Mutual Aid brings together many elements which we value at Repair the World. Volunteers engage with  their communities to build and reify relationships across differences. Mutual Aid brings people together to directly address many of our major concerns, such as food insecurity, criminal justice, education justice and housing. Let’s work together to build communities we wish to live in, where all people can thrive together!

100 Charitable Ways Atlantans Can Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This originally appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 23, 2020.

Concrete Jungle and Repair the World Atlanta have partnered to create food depots in Atlanta and Decatur, where volunteers deliver groceries to those in need. Also, mentioned are 100 other ways Atlantans can help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In the Wake of the Pandemic, the Jewish Community is Inspired to Serve

This originally appeared in the Forward on April 23, 2020.

CEO and President of Repair the World, Cindy Greenberg analyzes a very important new study about the importance of service. The Jewish community can play an integral part in mobilizing service during the pandemic.

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