2019 Service Learning Day – Working Together Giving Back to Our Community
To start off a meaningful first week at Kehillah, students and staff volunteered throughout the Bay Area at an array of organizations for Kehillah’s Service Learning Day on Wednesday, August 21. The Kehillah Service Learning initiative helps students become citizens of the world who are socially aware and engaged, who desire and work for a more just and kind world, with their actions guided by compassion, critical thinking, and Jewish values.
1 Day of Kehillah Community Service Produced:
For 60 years, the Community Services Agency has been providing vital social services for residents of Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. They provide a safety net so independence and self-sufficiency can be restored and maintained. Their clients may be a young, working poor family or an elderly person looking for companionship. Our staff and students packed over 9000lbs of fresh produce into bags and helped distribute it to clients in need.
My New Red Shoes, Redwood City:
My New Red Shoes has served more than 57,000 students in need of new shoes and clothing since 2006. The bulk of the effort is at the start of the school year, giving students an opportunity to feel special and cared for on their first day. The shoes are handed in a gift bag, with a dedication card, and a gift certificate for new clothing. The organization is based solely on donations and volunteers. We were 25 volunteers from Kehillah. Together we refurbished, sorted, and tagged 100 pairs of shoes that were donated, some (very) lightly used. Restoring shoes involves deep-clean with tooth-brushes, small picks, wet-wipes, and brushes. Then, sorting based on size and condition, and tagging with barcodes to sorted bins. We then created personalized cards to go with the gifts, where the positive spirit and artistic creativity of our students shone through.
San Francisco & Marin Food Bank:
Our group of about 15 students and staff sorted and packed over 7,000 lbs (250 boxes) of peppers. SF & Marin Food Bank itself has a huge impact helping to feed over 250,000 people every year, and it relies on the help of volunteers like our students and staff to get that food to the people who need it most.
The Presidio, San Francisco:
Team Presidio worked on two projects. We got on hands and knees to pull up and remove Cape Ivy, an invasive species that chokes local flora. We also trimmed brush from the pathways, allowing tourists to enjoy the preserve.
Ecumenical Hunger Program, East Palo Alto:
Kehillah students boxed and distributed food to families in need. Those who worked in the clothes closet got to organize the entire donation “store” and help as families in crisis chose needed household supplies and clothing. The Kehillah students worked hard, reflected on consumerism and what we genuinely need, remarked on the often new items other families had discarded as donations and wanted to stay longer to help at the fantastic organization.
GLIDE, San Francisco:
GLIDE is a non-profit organization based in San Francisco working to break the cycle of poverty and marginalization. As volunteers there, we served lunch to around 420 people in 60 minutes. Part of our group worked in the main dining room, predominantly on the food assembly line. We served chicken sandwiches with salad, clam chowder, carrots, and apples. It was fast work, and by the time we ended our service most of us were physically exhausted. Another part of our group worked in the family and persons with disabilities room. Students in that room served food, bussed tables, and talked to many of the patrons about their lives and difficulties. After lunch was over, both groups worked on cleaning up the dining areas and restocking the kitchens with food for upcoming meals.
Students and staff worked on dune and bluff restoration along beautiful Half Moon Bay State Beach. They planted native plants and removed non-native vegetation to help protect and preserve the natural environment.