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israel ops tzur hadassah

Kid-friendly volunteer opp in Jerusalem: Pantry Packers

With a friend’s awesome initiative, a rag-tag group of Tzur Hadassah Anglos got together and made rice, not war.

Yesterday a bunch of us young families got organized and volunteered as a group with Pantry Packers in Jerusalem (a food distribution project run by Colel Chabad). The highlight was to give our children a kid-friendly volunteer experience and show them the importance of giving.

So… I highly recommend this as a 2-hour, bilingual, local Jerusalem group volunteer opportunity. They take tour groups from outside Israel too. It was a great community-building exercise for us.

Originally I thought we’d be packing food pantry boxes… This ‘factory’ was an extension serving a more mainstream organization that doles out boxes of food to 5,000 Israeli families a month. What they’re trying to accomplish is buying grains/legumes directly and packaging it themselves to keep the cost down – and then give it out/sell it for a third of the price to needy families.

So we actually assembled the packaging, sorting, sealing, and packing for these bags of rice. The kids had a great time with the machines – some as young as 4-years-old. And afterwards I had a meaningful conversation with a group of the kids about what it’s like to be a hungry child – how that affects you in gan and school and how it affects the moms and dads who have trouble finding work.

I’m proud of our kids! I’ve been passively hoping to make volunteering an integral part of our family time, starting with a few times a year. But I wasn’t aware of such young kid-friendly opportunities. So let’s look out for some more, and please share what you know in the comments!