On Sunday, April 15th, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles hosted our 2nd Community Service Day of the year in conjunction with Good Deeds Day. Volunteers of all ages joined to uphold the Jewish commandment of tikkun olam — repair of the world — by participating in six different projects throughout the Los Angeles area.
Good Deeds Day is a global movement that unites thousands of businesses and organizations in 100 countries to perform good deeds for the benefit of others and the planet. Through this partnership, now in its 2nd year, The Jewish Federation provided an opportunity for our volunteers to positively impact our city and share the responsibility of healing and transforming the world as part of a global movement.
We aim to inspire, empower, and galvanize our volunteer base to effect change and address the issues that face our Jewish community as well as Greater Los Angeles. More than 100 volunteers signed up to participate in the six projects we offered with our partner organization.
Young Adults of Los Angeles (YALA) volunteers, ages 22-40, came together to help inspect, sort, and catalog donations made to Baby2Baby and create 100 customized “Baby Bundles,” gift bags filled with essential items for the children and families served by Baby2Baby. Josh Glucoft, a participant in this project, expressed the following:
“Baby2Baby has a mission that everyone can support. By providing the basics (and more), it is a great organization that makes a huge difference not just for the kids, but also for the parents. I’m also impressed by how many families Baby2Baby is able to reach. I am grateful to be able to help and look forward to volunteering again.”
Roxana Pourshalimi, another YALA participant, shared her experience and motivation to join the Federation at Baby2Baby. She said:
“I was motivated to volunteer at Baby2Baby because, simply put, I love babies and know they all deserve the best. I know many families do not have the resources to provide their children with all of the basic necessities, and the work Baby2Baby does struck me as so essential and extraordinary. I had previously heard of Baby2Baby in the media, but was not that familiar with all the work they do. When the opportunity arose to volunteer with Baby2Baby, I was excited to learn more about them and to be able to do my part to contribute.
I have participated in the Federation’s Community Service Days in the past and always look forward to helping people in need and contributing to the work organizations do in assisting these much-needed causes. Doing community service as part of the Jewish community is also important to demonstrate the positive impact our community has in society when we all come together to give back.
My favorite part of the day was seeing all of the items that were donated by people and corporations, knowing they were going to help kids who desperately needed them. I was honored to be able to do my small part in organizing some of these items for the babies and families.”
In North Hollywood, we hosted two projects, partnering with ETTA and LA Family Housing. At ETTA, volunteers joined the residents (adults with special needs) in an uplifting springtime activity — decorating and filling garden pots for the home. The residents had a great time visiting with volunteers and learning about growing herbs at home.
In an effort to inaugurate LA Family Housing’s newly built Fiesta Apartments, volunteers joined residents who are transitioning out of homelessness to paint pictures for their new community room and apartments. Yelena Khavkina, a participant at the LA Family Housing project, reflected on why she chose to participate and her volunteer experience:
“My job requires a certain amount of community service hours, and I decided to spend those hours helping fellow Jews. I have been involved in past Federation events, and when I heard about the community service day, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to help out and meet like-minded people. I was curious about what kinds of housing homeless people are offered, and then the flyer’s promise of an arts and crafts activity captured my attention. My favorite part was touring the building and meeting the people we were helping out.”
In Reseda, volunteers joined senior residents of the LA Jewish Home’s Eisenberg Village in painting and filling flower pots to spruce up the home for spring. Not only did the volunteers enjoy spending time visiting with the residents, but the group also loved potting the flowers to help brighten the home
We also returned this year to Shemesh Organic Farm, based at the Shalom Institute in Malibu, to learn about organic farming, plant in the Shemesh garden, and visit a few of their animals.
And finally, volunteers had the opportunity to join the Rosie’s Foundation population, people of diverse abilities, for a special park day where they played games and helped work in Rosie’s Ice Cream Truck and Cart, selling ice cream bars and sandwiches to parkgoers. Thank you to everyone who participated in making this a meaningful community day. We hope you will mark Sunday, June 3rd, on your calendars and join us for the Federation’s annual Gear Up for Camp Day — our next Community Service Day when you can help local kids prepare for the time of their lives.
For more information about Community Service Days with The Jewish Federation, please contact Volunteer@JewishLA.org.