Our Fall High Holidays are fast approaching! It’s a busy time of year for Jewish families, communities, and organizations like Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago. This year, Elul begins Monday, August 21. This is the perfect time for you, your children, and your grandchildren to begin holiday preparations. It’s also the perfect time to remember our older neighbors and those who are less fortunate.

You Can Help Now

Poverty and hunger don’t take a break during the holidays; if anything, the reality of impoverishment strikes those of our faith even harder. Special foods and our way of worship are deeply entwined whether we are celebrating or mourning. For Rosh Hashanah, round, braided challah bread symbolizes time’s annual cycle. During the month of Tishrei, bread and apples with honey represent our hopes for sweet things to come in the new year!

Your financial support and donations now, before the High Holidays of 2017 can help as many as 15,000 Jewish people worship and observe Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur meaningfully and joyfully. Their gratitude will be your blessing for the new year.

Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago

Your financial support goes beyond the holidays and into the hearts of those who live in poverty, and with hunger every day. Please call 847-674-3224 or contact us if you know of a family in need this time of year. Your referrals are another way to ensure others can worship traditionally.

Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we observe the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim). This is a time in which we seek a closeness with God; a time for review of last year, atonement and repentance, reconciliation, and forgiveness. As you review what you could have done better or differently, know that when you help Maot Chitim help others, you’ll be blessed into the new year and beyond!

“I’d like to – but I don’t have time!” Charitable organizations hear that phrase repeatedly, and it once meant, “You’re not one of my priorities.” In today’s technologically advanced, fast-paced world of today, it’s true: we really don’t have much time! Data indicates that we spend 30% of our lives getting dressed and preparing to leave the house (three percent of us take over an hour)! Or, you might have the time, but perhaps you have a physical disability that limits movement and travel. Maybe not leaving the house to help your charity is the solution.

Ways to Help from Home

You can “change the world in your pajamas,” says Help from Home.org! The website has ways to help your chosen charities, and you can even select the amount of time you have available – from under 1 minute to multiples of 30 minutes. Here are ways to help from home:

  • Do you speak another language? You can help charitable organizations with your translation skills!
  • People who are willing to answer surveys or contribute on a cellular level by donating tissue samples to research are needed. For example, you can volunteer for Jewish health clinical research.
  • Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur may be “end of summer” to many, but for Maot Chitim, they’re the beginning of a very busy year. To ensure our Chicago-area neighbors can worship with dignity, we need volunteers for meal deliveries. Can you dedicate a few hours to registering food packers/drivers?
  • Telephone counseling – Sometimes those in need want a friendly voice and a willing ear. You can call your charity’s recipients and ask how they are doing, family updates, etc. Be sure to provide what you learned to your charitable organization.
  • Telephone solicitation – Create a “script” and get its approval before you begin. Ask your charity to provide names and businesses to solicit, or create your list and have it approved. You can become a “telephone solicitor” for your organization!

Monetary donations continue to be the best help without volunteering. Contact us to learn more about ways to help Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago!

Volunteer Chima Madu said, “The fact that I am not paid does not mean that I am worthless. It means that I am priceless.” The joy – and blessing – of being a volunteer is that it’s a 2-way street. Serving others can change your life for the good.

Volunteers are needed to offset a charity’s overworked personnel and often, a lack of resources that means administrative staff does more hands-on work. In our case, that would be packing and delivering food boxes for our volunteer events, and we do so gladly and eagerly! But we need help for our volunteer events, and we need our volunteers to prepare themselves, physically and emotionally.

1. Safety

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Maot Chitim, but we don’t want our volunteers to bleed for us by any means! In order to serve as a packing/delivery volunteer, your vehicle and your body should be in good shape and adequately insured. Do not risk injury or illness as a result of any physical activity, no matter how worthy. Remember: You are priceless!

2. Plan for your needs

If you will be volunteering for 1 hour or 6 hours, the night before the event put out your water bottle(s), energy bars, raincoat, sack lunch and anything else you anticipate that will make your day go easily and comfortably.

3. Network with experienced volunteers

You want to be an asset; not someone other volunteers have to “deal with.” Before the volunteer event, discuss procedures that experienced volunteers follow in order to best help the activity flow.

4. Don’t worry, be happy!

Charity is an option for many; for us, it is tzedakah. Even the best coordinated and organized volunteer event can hit some snags. Keep your sense of humor and remember our focus is to serve with a joyful heart! Your bumps in the road will hardly matter.

The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something . . .
If you go out and make some good things happen,
you will fill the world with hope. You will fill yourself with hope
-Barack Obama