Today marks three months since we have been sheltered in place and working from home.  The one thing we miss most about not being at the office, is seeing our volunteers on a regular basis.  At Maot Chitim we greatly appreciate the people who make this all possible.  It takes a dedicated team to bring our mission to life and we couldn’t do what we do without you. This month we would like to spotlight one volunteer in particular.
Meet Meira Mainzer
Meira Mainzer is a friendly, familiar face at Maot Chitim. Each week, Meira walks through our door and volunteers her valuable time. Whether it’s inputting information in the computer, helping with donation deposits, or even stuffing envelopes, Meira graciously tackles the task at hand.
Meira lives in Chicago with her husband Jim. She is a retired Judaic Studies teacher at Ida Crown Jewish Academy.  Post retirement, while Meira was caring for her ill parents, she received an outpouring of love and support from the community. After their passing, she searched for a way to give back to the community as her way of saying “thank you.”  Lucky for us, she found Maot Chitim, then located in nearby Lincolnwood. Meira found our organization and our environment to be “comfortable and convenient.”  That was June of 2012. Six years later Maot Chitim moved to Northbrook.  Meira’s love and devotion to Maot Chitim was apparent by her willingness to drive the now, not-so-convenient added distance to continue her volunteering.  When Joellyn gave her specific weekly tasks, she felt an immediate commitment to Maot Chitim. What’s even more inspiring about Meira is she continues to thank us for letting her volunteer. Her dedication did not go unnoticed when she had to arrange a driver to take her back and forth to Northbrook each week.
When asked “Why Maot Chitim?” she explained that she felt like things were “moving full circle.” As a child she remembers her father starting a charity in South Florida. It involved collecting money to buy food for the elderly people in need. Charity work is something that has always been a part of her life. Meira’s favorite part about volunteering is it provides her with an “opportunity to use her time productively.”
In her free time, Meira likes to work on her needlework and visit her children and grandchildren who live in New York, Maryland, Minneapolis and Israel.
This month marks Meira’s 8th anniversary volunteering at Maot Chitim. Happy Anniversary Meira!  Thank you for your hard work, dedication, commitment, and support.
If you would like to nominate a volunteer to be in the spotlight, please send your nomination to
Lastly, please consider making a donation to Maot Chitim in honor of someone “spotlight worthy” in your life. Your valuable donation is a wonderful way of saying “thank you and I (we) appreciate you,” and at the same time helping us feed those in need. Thank you for your continued support.
Stay healthy and safe!
Your Maot Chitim Family

Nonprofit organizations are always looking for innovative and exciting ways to raise money. When organized exercise became popular in the sixties and seventies, nonprofits used the trend to gain enthusiasm for their causes. Americans loved the idea of using charity as a motivation to take on physical challenges, and the idea caught on quickly. Here is a brief timeline of exercise as a fundraising method: 

1970: The first nationwide charity walk, March for Babies, raises $75,000. 

1985: Relay for Life is founded and introduces the concept of fundraising teams to exercise fundraisers. 

1988: As running gains mainstream popularity, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society starts sending runners to destination races if they can reach fundraising goals. 

1998: The first Avon walk for breast cancer inspires thousands of dedicated participants to return year after year.  

2009: The first Warrior Dash, benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is a mud-filled obstacle course extravaganza. Crazy, messy, and unique exercise fundraisers start popping up everywhere.   

2011: Charity Miles, an app that donates money to a charity of the user’s choice for every mile they run or bike, is created. Today, people can be motivated to donate money through exercise without signing up for a race. 

Over the years, exercise-based fundraising has come a long way. Coming up on June 30thMaot Chitim board members will be participating in the Midwest Charities Midwest Charity Ride. We will Bike to Feed the Hungry, benefitting Maot Chitim and several other Jewish charities. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in this fun event and hope to see you there! More information can be found at  

“Charity begins at home.”

“Give where you live.”

There are so many global situations that hurt our hearts with their stark need for food, medical care, clean water…and the list is never-ending. For many, this is a time of year for  giving and personal reflection.  For many of us, making a difference – a positive impact – that will live beyond our years here is what we strive to do.

Helping Locally Can Change the World

The smallest local gesture or donation can have far-reaching consequences! You never go how far hope will travel. Here are three additional reasons to give to Chicago-area charitable organizations:

  1. Your monetary or volunteer donation might be the impetus someone needs to get a job, go back to school, or strive for a better way of life. Just knowing that other people care can remind someone they are worthy and valuable, and they have something to give, too.
  2. You can give yourself a fresh start! When you organize your own house-cleaning for charity, your clean closets, garage, basement, or attic may motivate you to create that sewing room you’ve wanted. Monetary donations work the same way. Even if you only give a little, you may want to re-organize your finances so you can make what most organizations really need – regular, ongoing support upon which they can plan their annual budgets.
  3. Get a jump on tax-savings. There are financial advantages to donating to a 501(c)3 non-profit charity. Keep receipts for your donations to get the deductions you deserve. That’s a win-win for everyone: You give, you receive!

Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago

We need financial support, but we also need people to pack food items and deliver them to Chicago-area people in need to help them celebrate the holidays.  The date for Passover Delivery is March 25th.  You CAN help! Contact us or call 847-674-3224 to give your legacy of dignity for others.

Choosing a Mitzvah is a highly personal decision in a young man or woman’s life, and should be unique to your passions while also serving the Jewish community at large. When it came to picking my own Mitzvah project when I was twelve years old, I took some time to think about what was most important to me. Some of my fondest childhood memories were of the high holidays spent with my family, celebrating and eating together. Food, family and Emuna (faith) are been deeply connected in my mind, so working with Maot Chitim, providing food to needy Jewish families in Chicago, was an easy pick for my Mitzvah.

Tzedukah, or “Charity”, is a large part of the Jewish faith and practice, a cornerstone of your life as a part of the Jewish tradition. Although I could have done a more private Mitzvah like reflecting deeply on a favorite prayer or designing Shabbat candles, at that age I felt that charity work most inspired me, and was important to my journey into adulthood.

For charity work I could have done many things, from collecting and donating toys to fundraising for groups or becoming directly involved in one of many local charities in Chicago. I wanted to pick an organization to work with that was important to what I love about being Jewish, while also helping those in need in Chicago. I knew that when I presented my Mitzvah during my Bat Mitzvah to friends and family as something personally meaningful I would inspire them to think deeply upon their own Mitzvah, either as projects for their upcoming Bar or Bat Mitzvahs or as a member of the Jewish community.

I quickly decided on Maot Chitim, a group focused on delivering food to those in need. I believed strongly in helping the needy, and to provide support to those in our community. Maot Chitim’s food delivery during high holidays provides sustenance and ensures that no one is left hungry. Food support through the year also provides a way through which the needy can adhere to the daily traditions of our faith with dignity and pride.

Maot Chitim provides meals to the Jewish community in Chicago, both for high holidays and for the food insecure year-round. Not only do they bring individual baskets around the city, they also send bulk shipments to other organizations focused on the same mission. Their charity spoke to me as a member of the Jewish faith and as a member of the greater Chicago community.

Volunteers and donors are the backbone of Maot Chitim’s charitable practice. From those who work in the warehouses organizing and coordinating food donations, to the assistants who hand-deliver baskets and meals to individuals each holiday. I was happy to help in the warehouse, and was also lucky enough to also meet some of the recipients of the food packages. Their gratitude strengthened my dedication to working with Maot Chitim.

During each holiday approximately 4,500 individual boxes are given along with bulk shipments to up to 25 larger organizations. In total, each holiday comfort, food, and tradition is brought close to 12,000 people who would otherwise go hungry or have no way to celebrate the warmth of holidays.

My time with Moat Chitim was unforgettable, and I have loved working with them well beyond my Bat Mitzvah.