Tzedakah Days Makes a Huge Difference in Milwaukee

September 30, 2013

By Kipp Friedman

This summer our campers ran, jumped, climbed, swam, crafted, golfed, made friends and enjoyed amazing experiences at our JCC summer camps.

They also made a difference!!! Each week the campers in Gesher, Shemesh, Kids Center, Sports and Rainbow Day Camps participated in JCC Tzedakah Days — a chance to focus our efforts on a different non-profit agency in Milwaukee with need. This was the second year that we embarked on Tzedakah Days and our continued commitment to educating our campers about giving back and making a difference in the greater community. The amount that we were able to collect each week was astounding. Some of the highlights included collecting 844 children’s books for the Next Door Foundation. We filled a collection bin with baby wipes, diapers, lotion and food for the Jewish Community Pantry. Children at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin will be able to color with 2,517 new crayons. The Bottomless Closet can give out 114 pairs of men’s and women’s shoes. When residents stay overnight at Cathedral Center they have 79 new pairs of flip flops to wear. Meta House received close to 100 kitchen items to give to women struggling to outfit a kitchen in their new apartments and the United Community Center (UCC) now has close to $500 to buy new supplies. The list continues… Jewish Family Services has new cleaning supplies, the Guest House has new toiletries and COA Youth & Family Centers will be able to hand out school supplies all thanks to our amazing campers and families.

What was also inspiring this summer was having our campers not just collect the items, but help organize, purchase and deliver them. The Tzofim/Ozrim at Rainbow Day Camp helped organize two of the weeks. Campers in Gesher helped count and sort books and shoes. Gesher Adventure got to travel to Meta House and the Jewish Community Pantry to deliver supplies and Camp Shemesh found the best deal on flip-flops in town!

Truly, every step of the way was paved by hard-working, dedicated campers, staff and families who together want to give back to those in need.

And while all of these efforts took place in Milwaukee, the 8th grade campers of Sha’ar at Camp Interlaken found a way to give back as well. They partnered with the Eagle River Department of Forestry to help clean, maintain and preserve camp grounds in the North Woods.

From birth to teen, our JCC summer campers showed how bright our future can be when they work together to help with Tikkun Olam – repairing the world.

Inspired by our summer Tzedakah adventures? There are ways to get involved during the year as well. Each month Tzedakah Days will continue throughout the JCC. Each month we’ll work with another agency to continue our collection drives. And, the Youth Humanitarian Project has volunteer opportunities for children and families ages 4-14 who want to give of their time, money and resources. Contact Rabbi Shari Shamah for more information, sshamah@jccmilwaukee.org or 414-967-8229.

Children from the Next Door Foundation display some of the free 844 children’s books they received this summer.

JCC Gesher campers are all smiles as they gather donated items to give for our summer-long Tzedakah Days.

 

This article was reprinted from the Fall 2013 Centerline.  To read more Centerline articles, click here