As the secular year winds down, the news and social media are filled with stories of acts of kindness toward those in need.
As we shared last time in this blog post, “Programming 101,” community action programs are the definite feel good things that we do for others and they are great examples of the acts of kindness B’nai B’rith brings to the communities. These community service programs find their home in the month of December and are often directed toward the larger community. They allow us to help others, express our thanks to those who have served our country and offer our appreciation for those who care for society in hospitals or other healthcare or community facilities.
Doing for others has its own reward, as it makes us feel good ourselves, as much as much as it cheers the recipient. We know that giving to and doing for others is also a way to "do Jewish" because it is considered a mitzvah to perform these acts.
B’nai B’rith’s community action projects are part of the important agenda items for the Center for Community Action and B'nai B’rith groups around the world. We are proud that B'nai B’rith members do the planning and implementation as well as raise or provide the financial support for many of these projects. None of these projects would happen without the dedicated men and women who make them possible. This is the time to share these activities and say thank you for all they do.
We are proud to share the good work of the coordinators of Pinch hitters from Atlanta's Achim Gate City Lodge as well as the volunteers at the West Essex Lodge in New Jersey who have had their Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Operation Brotherhood and Snowflake community service project at their local hospital for 20 years. The projects involve volunteers who take over the jobs or commitments of non-Jewish workers or volunteers so that they can be home with their families on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
We also have volunteers who collect warm clothing for the homeless in San Francisco before the winter. Houston B’nai B’rith reported in about its annual first Sunday in December Schlep Sunday--collecting clothing and household goods in Houston for community charities. The group has just completed its 35th successful year.
We are also expecting the annual Christmas Eve B’nai B’rith volunteers at the VA Hospital in West Haven, Conn., where every patient gets gifts and visit from a B'nai B’rith volunteer and every nurse’s station gets thank you treats.
We are still getting thank you notes after the delivery of 600 B’nai B’rith Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge books to community and children's centers as part of the NBC Today Show's holiday toy and book drive. These books, written by high schoolers, teach children about tolerance and diversity.
The best part of all of these community service programs is that even if you did not get a chance to be part of the December 2015 activity, you can get an early start for December 2016. We promise you will feel good you did.
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Rhonda Love is the Vice President of Programming for B'nai B'rith International. She is Director of the Center of Community Action and Center of Jewish Identity. She served as the Program Director of the former District One of B'nai B'rith. In 2002 she received recognition by B'nai brith with the Julius Bisno Professional Excellence Award. This June will mark her 38th anniversary at B'nai B'rith. To view some of her additional content, Click Here.
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