"Giving back to the community through volunteer work is not a noble deed," said Eryn Bizar, a site leader for YLD and TOV's Feed Chicago, "it is just simply the right thing to do."
Eryn's words were put into action on Sunday, March 3, when more than 130 young adults volunteered throughout the Chicago area. In just one day, more than 15 projects were completed at 13 different organizations and hundreds of lives were touched. From sorting food donations to cooking meals and decorating cupcakes, young adults from around the Chicago area showed that- together-the younger generations can make a difference.
Last fall, in response to the rising interest in volunteer efforts, the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago's Young Leadership Division and the Tikkum Olam Volunteer Network decided to act. Last year alone, 4,900 Jews received daily and/or weekly food assistance from a JUF agency. A whopping 522,614 meals, food bags, and grocery cards were provided to those in need through JUF. Feed Chicago was launched in the fall to provide a way for the young adults to volunteer and see the work of JUF first hand. This second time around, the young Jewish community made an even bigger impact.
"The cooperation, teamwork, and sheer enthusiasm of the group were contagious," said Caroline Musin Berkowitz, director of Volunteers and Outreach at The ARK. "We value our partnership with TOV and JUF."
"It means so much to see other Jewish groups coming together in a spirit of Tikkun Olam," said Amir Zadaka, who hosted a group of volunteers at the Jewish Relief Agency. "We are looking forward to the next time we can partner!"
And he is not alone. Chicago Chesed Fund, Sarah's Circle, The Center for Enriched Living, and other organizations are all excited to host more volunteers from YLD and TOV.
"The volunteers should pat themselves on the back for a job well done," said Matt Gaines, YLD Board member and co-chair of the event. This was just one day. Imagine what young adults can do over the course of a year!
Caryn Fields is Campaign Associate of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago's Young Leadership Division.