A look back at 2021;
How a community came together to help others
With the vaccine approved, 2021 started with promise of hope, health and in person gatherings. The year got off to an optimistic start as we started thinking ahead to Passover 2021 and the possibilities of an actual food delivery.
Our Zoom skills continued as we offered Volunteer Appreciation programing on Tuesdays in February. We had a session on Self-care During the Pandemic, we Hugged from the Heart, laughed together in Laughter Yoga and took a virtual tour of an art exhibit at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. We were happy to see the people we’ve missed, even if it was through a computer screen. It was a way to stay in touch and reassure everyone that they were not forgotten.
As for the Passover food delivery, by February we knew that one more holiday of Jewel gift cards was in store for our 16,000 recipients.
Our preparation for our Passover gift card delivery was in full swing. The Jewel gift cards we sent out reached approximately 16,000 people. Our group of volunteers were smaller, but nevertheless mighty, and we couldn’t have made this happen without them, and of course, your generous donations. Relying on the mail was trying at times, but the many “thank you” phone calls from our recipients made our difficult task worthwhile!
We are forever grateful for the donations that came in after our Passover “delivery.” We were reminded daily that this organization would not survive without your generous support.
We were thrilled to be one of the four recipients of the first Private Raffle. Midwest Charities held a raffle where the grand prize was a dream vacation valued at over $8,000. Tickets were sold for $100 apiece.
May was a busy month as we started delivering food for Ark Café on the Road. One Wednesday a month, Maot Chitim, sponsors fresh kosher meals for those in need. Those meals were delivered by our loyal volunteers as well as some new friends of MC. Look for our newsletters or visit our website to learn how you can deliver meals. FYI spots fill up fast.
Summer was finally here; High Holidays were coming early, and a real food delivery was in the planning stages. We were getting in touch with volunteers, looking for a warehouse and ordering food. We also began working on Midwest Charities 2nd annual Charity Ride. Volunteers were signing up for The Ark Café on the Road as well as our Rosh Hashanah food delivery. It felt good to get back to our old normal, or close to it.
Please read our newsletters to stay up to date on future volunteer events.
Our office was home to many masked volunteers as we continued prep for our Rosh Hashanah food delivery. Our long-time volunteers were planning truck routes, driver routes, parking lot procedure, COVID protocol, etc., after all, it was two years since we last delivered food boxes and we were determined to do it safely.
Nothing says High Holidays like seeing hundreds of cars lining up to fill their trunks with big boxes of Kosher food in our warehouse parking lot. Hundreds of volunteers came out in the 90+ degree rainy weather to deliver food to the 16,000 people that waited a long time to receive the much-appreciated food that your donations supply. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Yom Tov came and went the first week in September. Your generous donations were more important than ever, as food costs and need increased.
A new season started and so did a new partnership at Maot Chitim. We partnered with Bubbe Fira’s Food Bank to ensure those that needed, received a Shabbat meal. Our sponsorship is an on-going volunteer program on Wednesday evenings. Every Wednesday a group of 10 volunteers pack meals at Bubbe Fira’s Food Bank. If you, your family, friends, work place or organization are interested in volunteering for this, please visit our website to sign up.
We wanted to make people feel special during Hanukkah. Together with The Ark and HINDA Institute, we made gift bags of Hanukkah essentials, such as menorahs, candles, dreidels, cookies and chocolate gelt. Thanks to our many volunteers, the gift bags were picked up at our office and delivered to the HINDA clients. This brought smiles to everyone involved!
Your end-of-the-year donations are key to our successful food deliveries! We thank all of you who have given so generously. There is still time to donate in 2021.
As 2021 is coming to a close, we wish you happy memories of 2021 and reasons to celebrate and moments to cherish in 2022. May 2022 be healthy, happy and prosperous. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in the year ahead.
From our MC Family to yours, Happy 2022!
Most Jewish holidays are a cause for celebration. Usually, there’s lots of food involved. Tisha B’av, often described as the saddest day of the Jewish year, is an exception. It commemorates a series of tragedies that all happened to fall on the 9th day of Av, which falls on August 10th this year. To name a few, the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem and the expulsion of Jews from England and Spain all happened on this day. These disasters are commemorated by a day of mourning observed by fasting and reflecting on the tragic history of the day.
Even though Tisha B’av is a solemn day, there is a silver lining. After every attempt to destroy the community and spirit of the Jewish people, they were resilient and continued with more bravery than ever before. When we mourn those who lost their lives, we should also be thankful for those who continued to be proud Jews even after relentless attacks. Thanks to them, we get to enjoy our thriving Jewish community today.
No one should take their Jewish community for granted. Jewish people can find a lot of meaning in their lives by staying connected to their Jewish roots and traditions. Maot Chitim helps needy members of the Chicagoland Jewish community stay connected through the celebration of Jewish holidays. This Tisha B’av, please consider donating or planning to volunteer with us for our upcoming Rosh Hashanah delivery.