Tenufa and community work: giving new meaning to ‘Shop Till You Drop’

In this summer of ‘mom camp’, where volunteering became a theme last week, I want to share another kid-friendly volunteer opportunity, this time in the Jerusalem area.

Where else but on Facebook did I learn about a brand new initiative from Tenufa: Shop Till You Drop. I highly recommend and want to add that the second event of its kind will be held in Talpiot the Wednesday, August 10th. Read on to find out more…

Tenufa is an Israeli non-profit organization, which helps change the lives of Israelis living in poverty, in 7 cities across Israel. Our highly trained professional staff provides critical repairs that range from repairing leaky roofs and moldy inner walls to replacing broken kitchens and electrical systems, at no cost to the families. While our professional repairmen repair the homes we bring in Social Workers to help the family face their challenges; thus our intervention becomes a means to repairing the family.

We participated last Wednesday, the first time they had done the supermarket shopping event. The activity was essentially built for kids to get involved in a very familiar chessed: providing food and household necessities for individuals and families Tenufa has worked with on their home renovation.

Families meet a Tenufa representative at Osher Ad, a major Israeli supermarket chain (or, the ‘Israeli Costco’), and receive a shopping list designed for a specific family who, with one week’s shop taken care of, really gain a lift. Based on the amount the family is willing to spend, they shop for their list around the store, crossing off items and, if deemed appropriate by an accompanying social worker, add on a special item or two.

The activity was totally appropriate for my 7 and 5 year old, who could identify the items by either reading or looking at the printed pictures on the list. They spoke to the reps and learned about what kind of kindness this was and how it was a help to people who needed it.

It went by a little quick, but the kids totally got into it and were excited to be in a supermarket (always, for some reason, a carnival) and to be helping a family nearby.

The second half of the program is joining the social worker to actually deliver the shop. We left the packages outside the door, and the social worker, who the family knows, was in touch with the family directly about taking it in after we left.

To get in touch with Rena, the representative in charge of the program, contact her here.

Giving blood for Yom Hazicaron + woman who needs platelets.

I figured I’d share this email I just sent to friends in the Jerusalem area, since the more people who can, the better:

Hey guys –

I meant to write this email to like two people and then I figured, why not let everyone know… I was thinking of donating blood in honor of Yom Hazicaron (thanks, Shira) and then my boss told me about a woman in Efrat who desperately needs a platelets donation from the right type (to battle her cancer)… Basically, at Hadassah Ein Karem in Jerusalem at the blood bank in the main building, they are collecting blood for testing for her; they will donate the blood anyway to those who need it, and then if you are the match, they will call you to take your platelets…

Her name is Paula Goldblum. You give her name so they know it’s for her testing (blood will be donated anyway, so you’re killing all kinds of birds with one stone). I want to go tomorrow or Wednesday, don’t necessarily need to go with someone, but I just thought if that sounds like something you’d want to do, go for it.

Have a wonderful Yom Haatzmaut.

Another opportunity to volunteer with Sudanese refugees in Israel.

UPDATE: New info posted for volunteer opportunities to help African asylum seekers in Israel.

After I posted about volunteer opportunities with Sudanese refugees in Israel, a few people asked me for more details. While I didn’t have them (but did have the contact details of people who did) I now have more information regarding an opportunity to volunteer teaching English to refugees in Tel Aviv:

Looking for volunteers to teach English to Sudanese refugees (mostly from Darfur) living in Tel Aviv. As of now, classes are held on Monday nights but we are open to holding class on other nights as well. All levels of English are taught (advanced, intermediate, beginners and the ABCs). Knowledge of Arabic is extremely helpful in teaching the real beginners but not required.

No previous teaching experience necessary.

If you are interested or know of anyone who might be, please email: Nina722@gmail.com

Volunteer to help Sudanese refugees in Israel.

UPDATE: New info posted for volunteer opportunities to help African asylum seekers in Israel.

I’m passing this along for those of us who have time and resources to partake. It’s best that we Israelis act the part of good hosts while we are entangled in the Sudanese refugee mess.

After all, we know what it’s like to be homeless.

BACKGROUND

Refugees escaping war and political dictatorship from Sudan, Eritrea and the Ivory Coast amongst other African countries are in desperate need of assistance. The government makes no provision. Basic shelter, food and clothing for over 600 refugees is being provided by donation. The shockingly over-cramped living conditions are highly unsuitable for adults and more so for children.

For example, in one shelter, 190 asylum seekers occupy a 200 metre square space, sharing one toilet and shower and no cooking facilities. Another shelter is located above a shelter for active drug addicts. This shelter remains unlocked and the residents report strangers breaking in during the night. At times refugees sleep outside in the cold and rain.

Of particular concern at the moment is the severe lack of hostel space, the 13 unaccompanied children who need to be found schools/homes and the practical supplies and places to work needed for the older refugees (they do have work permits).

URGENT HELP/EQUIPMENT NEEDED

  • Food: 10 kg sugar, 10 bottles of oil, 100+ tea bags/ coffee, 50 cans of meat, sardines, tuna (all on an ongoing basis)
  • Women’s sanitary equipment (on an ongoing basis)
  • 10 shower curtains
  • 300 (or on an ongoing basis) pieces of soap
  • 300 (or on an ongoing basis) toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Men’s shoes and winter clothing, socks, woolen hats, scarfs, coats (enough for 350 people)
  • 350 Blankets, towels
  • 4 first aid kits and 4 lockers to keep the kits in a safe place
  • A fund for essential medicines for special cases when the refugees are not able to pay
  • 6 (used) cell phones and phone cards for the refugee leaders in the shelters in order to communicate with them to arrange daily life issues (e.g. to pass on information such as where to pick up food and to give the leaders the opportunity to contact us when there are serious problems in the shelters)
  • 4 phones (land lines) for the shelters for incoming calls only
  • Paint for the walls in the women’s shelter
  • Office equipment (computer, telephone, desk, chairs, fax, copy machine etc)
  • Space for temporary shelters
  • Schools to accept the 13 unaccompanied minors aged 14-15

Contact Gila at gilais@gmail.com. Please note donations need to be delivered

VOLUNTEERING NEEDED

No need for Hebrew unless specified. No need for own transport.

For the following please contact info@ardc-israel.org:

  • Volunteers to help in the shelters (e.g. daily check-in, escorting refugees to a doctor’s appointment, the hospital etc)
  • Volunteers to help find refugees accommodation
  • Volunteer Lawyers
  • Volunteer to help with the website
  • Volunteers to help with cooking
  • Volunteers to help with driving and coordination (e.g. transportation form the shelters to the hospital — car needed)
  • Volunteer to help fix the office computer
  • Volunteers to take in pregnant women or unaccompanied minors (usually age 15) to their home

For the following please contact Elisheva at eli7meli@gmail.com:

  • Volunteers to help find refugees work
  • Volunteer Social workers, Psychologists, Therapists, Physicians, Nurses

Coming to Israel this winter?

I find that lots of people – students or not – desire to volunteer on a day-trip basis when they come a-visiting, so I’m sharing the following:

Standing Together – the organization that sells us the Sderot challot every week – has an initiative set up for tourists to Israel this next month:

This winter, visitors to Israel are invited to share their warmth and gratitude with the soldiers guarding our Holyland 24/7. Standing Together hopes you will join us to distribute hot coffee and pizza to these young men and women who are working so hard and standing outside in the cold. Thousands of Israeli soldiers are protecting the Jewish homeland and they deserve appreciation and recognition from Jews worldwide. Call David Landau, director at 050-558-0822 or email info@stogether.org to set an appointment.

They are also organizing a group trip on January 23rd.