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Archive for : Holidays

Spreading Good this Holiday Season

Giving is to Winter like sour cream & applesauce are to latkes: we hope you spread ‘em generously! Whether it’s serving meals to the hungry, supporting Sandy recovery efforts or igniting a child’s passion for reading, the festival of lights offers many ways to give. How can YOU spread good this holiday season?

In Repair the World’s hometown, thousands of people still need heat and light in their homes following hurricane Sandy. We hope you’ll help spread some good, and share some light in these darker times by giving a gift that no one – and no hurricane – should take away: education.

What can YOU give to promote literacy across the country?

TIME: The Repair the World team is hosting a HoliDay of Service on 12/9 in New York City to create educational gifts for the students of PS 253 in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn! Packed with school supplies, a new book, and a battery-operated reading lamp, these literacy kits that will be donated to the students  whose school was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Older students will use these kits over winter break to read aloud to younger students, which means each book will have a double impact! Sign up to join us (space is limited so chime in quickly!). Can’t make it to the event? Organize one of your own with this tipsheet. You can also donate books through our registry here.
BOOKS: Reach Out and Read is an incredible national organization that reaches almost 4 million (!) students each year. By “prescribing” books to their patients, pediatricians and medical professionals become education allies. You can join them by participating in our online book drive, which lets you virtually pick books to donate to local communities. Your efforts will help children build early literacy skills, making them more ready (and excited!) to read when they enter school.
GELT (MOOLAH): With low-income, public schools facing a dearth of resources, the innovators at Donors Choose have created a way to create micro-change out of pocket change. Donors Choose gives public school teachers a platform to fundraise for the specific needs of their students. Donors Choose has thousands of pages posted by teachers in all 50 states. Requests range from laptops and microscopes to basic markers and crayons, and each dollar donated goes directly to fund teacher’s projects. Search by zip code to help a teacher in your neighborhood, or donate to classrooms that have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
e-NSPIRATION: Share this post with your friends so they can get in-depth updates about how to hit the ground volunteering. If 8 (as in nights in Chanukah!) people list you as a reference when they sign up for our newsletter, you’ll get an awesome Repair the World tee – now available through our online store!

And don’t forget to check out our 8 nights of Sandy Service for tips on how your small differences can add a whole lot of light.


Last week we gave thanks, this week let’s give back!

From the genius minds of Henry Timms, deputy executive director of the 92nd Street Y, and Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation, this newly launched movement aims to transform the way people think about this consumer-driven season.

“We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Why shouldn’t there be a day for giving back?” asks Timms.

As of today, more than 2,000 charities, for-profit businesses, community groups, religious groups, and schools have committed to launch their own volunteer and charity-centric projects as part of the #GivingTuesday movement. With the launch off to a strong start, the campaign aspires to become part of our national holiday season lexicon, joining the likes of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as an annual staple to look forward to.

 So what can YOU do to get involved?

You can also work with us! Donate to Repair the World this #GivingTuesday, and every dollar will be matched! Read more about Repair’s fundraiser here.

There are no rules when it comes to who, what or how you give – you’re encouraged to think creatively based on your own unique interests and skills. Are you designing a new flier for your favorite charity? Volunteering with your youth group?

Tell us what us what you’re doing @RepairTheWorld or connect with us on Facebook!

November, Movember

Ah, November – a time for family feasts, autumn leaves, giving thanks…and growing mustaches.

Started in 2003, Movember (a mash-up of “Moustache” and “November”) is changing the face of men’s health – pun intended! Each November, over one million men around the world begin the month clean-shaven, and spend the next 30 days cultivating their mustaches, all with the goal of getting their supporters to pledge money for men’s health.  By committing to growing a mo’ for the 30 days of Movember, these men become walking billboards, raising awareness and funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and other prevalent men’s health issues.  Last year was a staggering success, with participants raising over $42,000,000!

The movement’s greatest success is the awareness and education it spreads. By diffusing awareness through a quirky, fun facial adornment, Movember is able to break down stigmas and social barriers that often surround men’s health issues. The discussions sparked by these furry accessories prevent illness and encourage healthy living – and ultimately, save lives.

Movember occurs every year, around the world, and it’s not just your friends and colleagues getting involved. Many high-profile celebrities and athletes have supported the Movember Foundation, including Joe Jonas, Justin Bieber and Foster the People’s Mark Foster, creating great press fodder and increasing knowledge about a creative and worthwhile initiative.

Do you know someone growing out their stache for a good cause this Fall? Tweet us a pic and we’ll send you a Repair the World tee! @repairtheworld

Thanksgiving Volunteer Opp: Everything But the Turkey with the Washington DC JCC

Washington DC people, take note! This November 19th and 21st the Washington DCCJCC is hosting their “Everything but the Turkey” event – an annual volunteer opportunity that brings together 500 volunteers to prep Thanksgiving side dishes for the city’s hungry and homeless population. The program, which is in it’s 12th year, works closely with DC Central Kitchen, one of the city’s leading anti-hunger organizations, to make a real difference in the community.

Erica Steen, the DCJCC’s Director of Community Engagement, took some time to talk with Repair the World about what it’s like to prep Thanksgiving dinner for 6,500 people, and why volunteers shouldn’t wait to sign up.

What exactly is Everything But the Turkey?
It’s an annual event where we partner with DC Central Kitchen to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for all of the homeless shelters and low-income community organizations in the city. They make all the turkeys and we make all the side dishes. Every year more than 500 volunteers join us the Monday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving to prepare the dishes.

Amazing! How many people does the program feed, and what’s on the menu?
There are 100 different shelters in the area that feed approximately 6,500 hungry people a full Thanksgiving dinner. In addition to turkey, which DC Central Kitchen makes, we prepare green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, coleslaw, stuffing and a harvest salad, which includes beans and corn.

What do people do while volunteering?
The volunteers are involved in all aspects of food prep. We organize tables of eight and each table is given one recipe and all the supplies and ingredients they need to make that recipe multiple times. Over the course of the two days we make approximately 12,000-15,000 servings of food. Because we have volunteers who come with their children, we also make snacks for an after school program that DC Central Kitchen runs.

How do you keep track of all that food?
It’s a lot of team work! We have our own staff and DC Central Kitchen also sends representatives who help volunteers pack up trays and make sure things run smoothly. There’s even someone at the door tallying up the completed trays as they leave the kitchen. The process is made somewhat simpler because we do not cook anything at the JCC. We do the cold prep and then wrap up the dishes in clearly marked aluminum trays. They are then packed into a cooler van and delivered to DC Central Kitchen. A couple of the dishes like the coleslaw and harvest salad are good to serve as-is, but anything that needs to be cooked gets cooked there.

Can you talk more about who participates?
We have a wide variety of participants, and we let people know they do not have to have previous cooking experience to get involved. That said, a lot of people who volunteer love to cook – some people even bring their own knives! A lot of our preschool families come with their kids. And companies or groups from local universities will often sponsor a table. We also have grandparents who bring their grandchildren and let mom and dad stay at home to prep their own Thanksgiving meal.

This year, we are really ramping up sponsorship opportunities. Groups can sponsor a table and we add their logos to our advertising and website. Individuals can also sponsor. I had a mom call me this morning who wants to sponsor a table in honor of her daughter’s bat mitzvah, which is the following week! They’ll bring friends and family and make a bat mitzvah service project out of the day.

How can people sign up to be involved?
People can register directly at our website – but if they’re interested they should sign up soon. This event fills up quickly every year!

Find more volunteer opportunities with the Washington DCJCC here, and learn more about DC Central Kitchen’s work and how you can get involved here.

Set the Table for Global Hunger Shabbat, Nov 2 (Plus Get Interviewed for this Blog!)

Do you know where you’re having dinner on Friday, November 2nd? (Because, doesn’t everyone coordinate their Shabbat dinner plans two weeks in advance?) If you don’t have a firm plan yet, that’s great – seriously! – because now is the perfect time to start inviting people to your place for Global Hunger Shabbat.

Sponsored by Repair the World partner American Jewish World Service (AJWS), Global Hunger Shabbat is one of the core aspects of their Reverse Hunger campaign. All year round, Reverse Hunger aims to reform our country’s international food aid policy, create a fair food system that reflects our community’s values, and spark the Jewish voice for change by reforming the United States Farm Bill, which is up for renewal this year.

Global Hunger Shabbat is a weekend of nation-wide solidarity, learning and reflection around food justice. And it’s your opportunity to get involved in this super important work – to spread the word and take stock in the ways our tradition can inspire us to make a difference, while enjoying good friends and good food.

The fun all begins with dinner on November 2nd. Interested, but not sure how to plug in? Or do you want to attend or host a Shabbat dinner, but not sure where to start? AJWS has made it easy to get involved, providing educational materials to bring to the Shabbat table and resources linking food justice and Jewish global citizenship.

Click here to find a Global Hunger Shabbat meal with an open seat at the table near you. Or click here to access all the resources you need to plan and host an amazing, educational and empowering dinner.

Are you hosting or attending a Global Hunger Shabbat dinner? We want to interview you about it! Let us know in the comments below or email editor[@]

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: “Have The Talk” With Sharsheret

Did you know that Ashkenazi Jewish men and women are at a 10x greater risk than the general population of carrying the gene mutation that can lead to breast cancer? We didn’t either. But with October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to educate yourself – and help spread the word – about the realities of breast cancer and other related cancers.

There are lots of great national organizations dedicated to educating people about breast cancer. In the Jewish community, Sharsheret is leading the way. Particularly with their Have the Talk campaign, which encourages people to talk to family members to find out their own family cancer history, and empower others to do so as well. This month, get involved:

    • Pledge to Have the Talk.: Sign up here to pledge to find out your family’s cancer history by or before November 28, 2012.
    • Encourage friends to do the same. Every person you convince to learn their own family history is another person who is empowered to take control of their own heath.

Host a Have the Talk Day on campus. College students can host a special Have the Talk day on their campuses. Choose a date, set up a table with info from Sharsheret, decorate the table in pink (and bake some cupcakes to entice passers by!), then encourage other students to take the pledge themselves.

Find out more ways to get involved with Sharsheret’s work and spread the awareness about breast cancer here. And learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones with an Early Detection Plan here.

An Abundance of Sukkot Service and Celebration Opportunities

There’s a Jewish tradition that you are supposed to begin building your sukkah (the temporary outdoor dwellings Jews build for the harvest holiday of Sukkot) right after Yom Kippur ends. You are literally meant to hammer the first nail into the sukkah frame directly after breaking the fast as a way of making a physical connection between the sacredness of the high holidays and the rest of the year.

Whether or not you are personally building a sukkah this year, we’ve rounded up a bunch of ways for you to celebrate Sukkot with service. And since today is the day after Yom Kippur, it’s the perfect time to “hammer in that first nail” – metaphorically, anyway! Scan the list below to find a meaningful Sukkot opportunity near you.

  • NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation: Sukkot is all about shelter, and this year, we’ve teamed up with NEXT to show you how to fight homelessness and help those in need. NEXT is also offering up to $200 toward materials to build your own Sukkah! For those urban dwellers or not yet homeowners, host a holiday meal and NEXT will help fund your groceries or take out order.
  • Shoresh: On October 7, the Canadian Jewish environmental organization is hosting a Sukkot celebration complete with a festive meal, learning and service activities at Bela Farm.
  • Urban Adamah: Join Repair the World grantee-partner, Urban Adamah on October 7 for their Eat, Pray, Lulav Sukkot Harvest Festival. Activities include live music, worm composting workshops, farm tours, face painting, and lots of delicious fresh food.
  • Hazon: On October 7, Hazon’s Colorado community is hosting a sukkah “bike hop.” Pedal on two wheels to different sukkahs, eating, learning and traveling in carbon-neutral style the whole way.
  • Jewish Farm School: On October 8, join Repair the World grantee-partner Jewish Farm School for their Sukkot Harvest Celebration. Eat a delicious organic lunch and glean crops on a farm that will be donated to the less fortunate. This event is being held in partnership with Food Day 2012.
  • UJA-Federation New York: From Oct 15-26, join UJA’s second-annual Care to Share initiative. Symbolically fulfill the Jewish custom of gleaning by donating a portion of your fresh CSA produce, food from your garden, or fresh produce you purchased to a local food pantry.

Find out more about Sukkot’s connections to service here. Did we miss any amazing Sukkot service opportunities? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us at @repairtheworld.