Well over 120 people joined us for Mitzvah Day 2014 to Hone in on Homelessness. You can see pictures here. The program featured a number of local organizations that are really making a difference and highlighted ways that we can each continue our involvement. It ended with a wonderful community-wide sandwich-making effort and sing-a-long you have to see to believe.
Whether or not you were able to attend, we encourage you to explore the links below and to watch the short videos. If you are so inclined you can get more information about volunteer opportunities and/or make a contribution.
Birthday Wishes website Video
Community Day Center of Waltham website Video
Generic Ministry website and video
Harvard Square Homeless Shelter website Video
Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance website Video
New England Center for Homeless Veterans website Video
Yad Chessed website
Mitzvah Day 2013 Projects
Making “memory scrapbooks” for Alzheimer’s patients who are at the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center of Boston, MA. A great family activity for parents to do with children 5 and over, for adults, or for pre-teens or teens to do with friends. (Ages 5+)
Cook for Bristol Lodge
Preparing dinner for clients at Bristol Lodge, a soup kitchen in Waltham that serves meals daily. (Ages 7+)
Categorizing toys and clothing at the Cradles to Crayons warehouse. Items were later distributed to children in the community. Founded in 2002, Cradles to Crayons is an innovative nonprofit organization that provides disadvantaged children with essential items that all kids need in order to flourish. This is a great family project. (Ages 5+)
Knitting blankets for children who live in Dnip (Dnipropetrovsk) Ukraine. (Ages 8+)
Helping wonderful people with special needs enjoy community connections. Baking dog biscuits for a local animal shelter and eat pizza with a group of developmentally challenged adults (ages 22 and up) who live in group homes operated by Charles River Industries. (Ages 6+).
Rolling up sleeves and getting dirty to help prepare this educational Needham Community Farm for the planting season. Activities included weeding, planting and moving compost. (Adults and Teens only)
Meeting at The Walker School, a residential home for children ages 6-12, for a fun game of bingo. (Adults and Teens only)
Brightening the dining room of Bristol Lodge by decorating flower pots for the shelter’s tables. These pots were delivered by other volunteers in the afternoon when they set up to provide dinner to homeless people. A great project for families with young children.
Deliver Food and Flower Pots to Bristol Lodge
Visiting Bristol Lodge to serve snacks and set up for dinner at this homeless shelter in Waltham that serves 60-110 people every night. (Ages 5+)
Welcome Baby Bags
Joining kids and adults in this activity to put together bags with new baby supplies for women living in reduced circumstances. The bags were distributed to new mothers residing at Boston area shelters served by Circle of Hope, a nonprofit organization in Needham dedicated to serving families in need. Creating gifts for the littlest members of our community—every baby deserves a big welcome. (All ages)
Men’s Club members constructed and installed shelving in the Circle of Hope sorting room. Circle of Hope is a nonprofit organization in Needham that collects donations of new and used clothing and distributes them to individuals and families in Boston-area shelters. This project culminated months of planning and measuring at COH to “makeover” their sorting room.
Joining in for the 4 mile section of the 20 mile Walk for Hunger from Newton Center to the Arsenal Park Snack Shop. This downhill section ended at the huge mid-station where there was free food, music and other entertainment. Donations and fundraising provide 65 million meals for hungry families in Massachusetts each year.
Rofeh International provides housing, support and services for sick Jewish patients and their families visiting Boston for treatment. Rofeh operates a number of apartments in Brookline and taps volunteers (through an email list) to provide services such as transportation, providing meals, running errands and providing companionship. The decorated bags of toiletries helped patients feel welcome when they arrive and provided much needed supplies.
The Needham Community Council is a private non-profit organization which supports people in Needham who have under-met health, educational or social needs and promotes volunteerism, community and a sense of shared responsibility. The group took a tour of the new facility and then helped sort clothing and other goods that were then sold in the Thrift Store to help fund NCC programs. (Ages 13+)