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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Join the Good Deeds Day Movement 2023 Shining the Spotlight on the Jewish Volunteer Connection

Amidst the unsettling world and local news of violence and dissension, the idea of doing good deeds to make the world a better place is still alive and well. Good Deeds Day 2023 will take place on Sunday, April 16, 2023, this year.

“I believe that if people will think good, speak good and do good, the circles of goodness will grow in the world,” Shari Arison, the initiator of Good Deeds Day once said.                                                                                                                            

Arison— a philanthropist and businesswoman— took interest in kicking off the day in 2007.

 “The first Good Deeds Day kicked off with 7,000 volunteers in Israel,” according to the Good Deeds Day website. “Now, millions of people from thousands of businesses, nonprofits, schools, families, and individual good-doers have taken part.”

 It was also mentioned that “over 100 countries worldwide “have participated to make a positive impact on other people and the planet.

Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC), a nonprofit that is based in the Park Heights community in Baltimore, Maryland, will host the Baltimore area’s Good Deeds Day again. JVC has been hosting Good Deeds Day since 2013.

Mayor Scott stopped by Jewish Volunteer Connection’s 2023 MLK Day program. Photo credit: David Stuck

JVC will offer various service project placements through nonprofit partners. Examples of some of the 11 opportunities to volunteer include dog kennel cleanup and grounds upkeep at Baltimore Humane Society; sorting donations for Second Chance, Inc.; sorting donations and taking inventory of used sports equipment with Leveling the Playing Field; and serving lunch to women and children at My Sister’s Place Women’s Center.

JVC is also hosting its own service project to celebrate the third birthday of its Bunches of Lunches program. Since April of 2020, the organization has rallied the community to donate hundreds of meals  weekly to help fight food insecurity in Baltimore. Volunteers will pack 400 lunches for individuals experiencing homelessness, poverty and food insecurity. The lunches will be donated to local nonprofits. A $5 volunteer registration fee covers supplies for making bagged lunches. Volunteers will participate on Sunday, April 16, 2023, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at Har Sinai – Oheb Shalom Congregation, located at 7310 Park Heights Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland.

“We believe that volunteerism is a great engagement tool. It’s something that a lot of people in our community are passionate about so we’re excited to use volunteerism and create volunteer opportunities to engage people from all across our community,” Alli Berger said. “Volunteerism is never going to address the systemic needs of our community. That makes logical sense, but what volunteerism does is it meets those urgent needs that need to be addressed right now.”

The senior associate who works for JVC planning volunteer programming explained that JVC is a part of the Macks Center for Jewish Connections. It is aimed at engaging Jewish Baltimore in different kinds of programs and providing a connection to resources for the purpose of creating a thriving Jewish community in Baltimore. Good Deeds Day is just one of JVC’s volunteer programs.

Berger further noted that people outside of the Jewish community can participate in JVC’s programming.

“Not all of our volunteers are Jewish,” she said. “If people want to volunteer, we’re going to help them find something meaningful.”

Additionally, JVC finds out  the needs of the organizations with whom they partner, to strengthen their collective impact.

“We partner with several nonprofits in Baltimore. Very few of them are Jewish. Some are other religions, but mostly just secular, amazing organizations helping people experiencing a variety of issues in our community,” Berger said.

She added that the Bunches of Lunches program meals are generally not donated to members of the Jewish community. They are provided to whomever needs them and has relationships with nonprofits where the meals are taken.

“We’ve heard from some of those nonprofits that the meals we’re delivering are the only meals those clients are going to get in a day,” Berger said.

JVC assists volunteers to give back to schools, shelters, hospitals, synagogues and organizations throughout Baltimore. Building a viable network in the Baltimore community supports JVC’s vision and mission of strengthening communities through supporting “purposeful and committed volunteering.”

“We try to have ongoing relationships with our nonprofit partners, so if someone knows of an organization that has needs for volunteers or donations, they can certainly reach out to us and we can try to establish a relationship with that nonprofit,” Berger said.

A complete list of opportunities to volunteer with JVC on Good Deeds Day is available online via https://jvcbaltimore.org/annualevents/good-deeds-day/. Registration must be completed by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, 2023. Inquiries about partnering to help the community can be established by emailing [email protected]

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