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Federation Volunteers Finish 2013 by Caring for our Community

Last Sunday, Federation volunteers participated in the sixth and final Community Service Day of 2013! Over 140 of us participated in service programs across the city that focused on helping those experiencing food insecurity and homelessness, supporting Jewish soldiers in our military, and bringing joy to senior citizens in our community.     

In a private property in Agoura and in partnership with Food Forward, we gleaned over 1,100 pounds of Navel oranges! This produce was then donated to JFS { SOVA Food Pantry where it will be provided to hundreds of people living with food-insecurity. The project was in collaboration with the Jewish Federation Valley Alliance, which helped to connect Federation volunteers living in city and valley neighborhoods. Together, we were unified in our efforts to combat hunger throughout all of Los Angeles.   

In downtown on Skid Row, we prepared and served dinner to over 250 homeless clients at the Union Rescue Mission. Expressions of gratitude were on the clients’ faces as tasty dishes were provided.  This time of year can be especially hard for those experiencing homelessness and without family to be with during the holidays. The smiles and kind words that our Federation volunteers provided were just as important as the food itself. 

In the Federation building at 6505 Wilshire Blvd., parents and their children participated in Passover-themed arts and crafts to include in care packages for Jewish servicewomen and servicemen in the U.S. Armed Forces. The care packages will help these brave women and men to celebrate Passover, a holiday of freedom, as they risk their lives overseas to protect our freedoms here at home. Following the program, volunteers were provided complimentary admission to Zimmer Children’s Museum. The program was in partnership with Project M.O.T., PJ Library (a Federation program), and Zimmer Children’s Museum.

At the Westside Jewish Community Center, our Federation’s YALA volunteers (ages 25-40) threw an awesome Hollywood-themed party for over 160 seniors in our community! For five hours, they helped to setup and decorate the room, take prom-like pictures with the seniors, serve delicious food and beverages, schmooze with the seniors, and last but definitely not least, get down on the dance floor! One of the highlights was when everybody came together in circles to dance the horah. Providing these seniors with a great experience was the number one priority and it was seen, danced, and felt the entire time. Here are comments from one of the guests: “We had such a good time! The best (Senior Prom) yet! Photos were a wonderful touch, but what really made it was the volunteers dancing with everyone and adding such cheer! Please extend our appreciation to all!” A special thanks to Rebecca Steinberger and Jessica Hekmatjah for being amazing Senior Prom Co-Chairs for the second year in a row, and to YALA Social Action Committee co-chairs, Joel Fogelson and Robin Polansky! (Senior Prom photos were taken by volunteers, Andy Alt and Katie Pepperman.)

Whether it was making sure that those living with food insecurity are a little more secure, ensuring that Jewish identity can still be felt and celebrated even in combat zones thousands of miles away, or having seniors know how much we care about their happiness, our dedicated Federation volunteers helped to close out 2013 with fireworks of service.

We hope to see you on February 9th – our first Community Service Day of 2014, in conjunction with Super Sunday!

To be placed on our volunteer e-mail list, please fill out our short volunteer sign-up form. And don’t forget to check us out on Facebook! 

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