By Danielle Berkow
One of my favorite gifts I received this year during Hanukah was not something you could shop for at a store or online; I became a member of Adath’s Giving Circle. I didn’t specifically ask for the membership, but I had outlined on the wish list that I prefer not to receive material gifts. As a twentysomething, I have more than my fair share of material things. In fact, I’m tired of things. I want fewer things, and I seek to replace them with meaningful experiences and contributions to society.
Since becoming a member of the Giving Circle, I have volunteered my time once so far at the food shelf. While I was there, I saw how vital it is that people contribute food or money to make sure there are ample resources for the community. I also learned how some simple tasks for an hour or two – time we easily allow to slip by mindlessly watching TV or browsing the Internet – can greatly help the organization serve with more efficiency. I saw a family “shopping” the food shelves, able to make their own choices with dignity, the stigma of receiving help from the community nonexistent. The kids in that family were eagerly bouncing around just like you’d see at any supermarket; they may have never even realized they were at a food shelf instead of a grocery store.
I’m already anticipating the next volunteer session with delight. There is a certain quiet joy of giving up one’s time on behalf of others, especially when this experience is shared as a group. It pushes back against downright depressing headlines that seem to tell me, each day, the world is coming to end. It gives me hope, but more importantly it provides hope to the community that there are people out there who care about their wellbeing.
Now is a great time to donate. When 10 more people make a donation to the Giving Circle, an anonymous donor will add an extra $180.00 to the pool.