DO A MITZVAH PROJECT AND HELP PROVIDE FOR A CHILD IN ISRAEL
ORGANIZATION: Amit Children (www.amitchildren.org)
PROPOSED PROJECT: This unique opportunity gives a child celebrating a birthday the opportunity to connect and build a relationship with a child in Israel. Together with AMIT’s dedicated and professional staff, each child works to incorporate his/her personal interests or ideas into an individualized Mitzvah Project. Our staff will design and print a variety of materials including letters, invitations, inserts and tent cards as well as create a personalized webpage enabling you to share this project with family and friends. Project Opportunities include:
- Bake Sale- Plan a baking party with your friends, selling delicious treats to friends, family & neighbors
- Fashion For a Cause – Create your own project runway and see your favorite styles come to life
- Accessorize yourself – Express your artistic side by designing custom jewelry for AMIT girls in Israel
- Walk the Distance – Grab your running shoes and get sponsored
- Music Supports AMIT – Organize a special benefit concert with your favorite band
- Charity Carwash – Made suds and wash some cars
- Create Your Own – Brainstorm with an AMIT professional to create your own unique project
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: With 108 schools throughout Israel, AMIT sets the standard for education. Founded in 1925, AMIT now educates over 25,000 students; 70% of whom live at or below the poverty line and many come from backgrounds where abuse, violence, drugs and aggression are a way of life. By providing the highest level of academic excellence for its students and teaching them Jewish values, AMIT enables these children to reach their fullest potential and become productive members of Israeli society with the skills necessary to build a successful future. Partnering with AMIT during your birthday celebration enables you to directly impact the life of a young Israeli who would otherwise not celebrate this milestone in his or he life. This experience enriches your own family simcha.
YOUR MITZVAH TODAY ENSURES A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR A CHILD TOMORROW.
CARDS AND LETTERS FOR SOLDIERS IN ISRAEL
ORGANIZATION: A Package from Home (www.apackagefromhome.org)
PROPOSED PROJECT: Create a homemade greeting card or write a letter for a soldier in the Israeli Defense Force who is either a “lone soldier” (does not have any family in Israel) or is severely wounded and receiving long-term hospital care. (These cards and letters will be included in care packages that are sent to the soldiers.) Letters should be “positive and upbeat and offer soldiers encouragement and thanks for protecting Israel.” The writer may also include some information about himself/herself. The “A Package from Home” organization also notes: “If you clearly write your mailing address on the letter, there is the possibility that the soldiers will take a moment to respond to these letters.”
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: A Package from Home seeks to “strengthen the spirit and resolve of Israeli soldiers” and “show our appreciation for the sacrifices they are making.” Each year, the organization sends out tens of thousands of care packages to lone and wounded soldiers. The packages each contain clothing, toiletries, and snacks. Each package also contains four letters or cards from around the world, many written by children in Jewish Day Schools and Religious Schools. Since its origination in 2000, the organization has sent over 135,000 care packages.
“GET-WELL PACKAGES” FOR HOSPITALIZED CHILDREN
ORGANIZATION: Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA (www.uclahealth.org)
PROPOSED PROJECT: Create a “Get-Well Package” for a critically or chronically ill child experiencing a long hospitalization. It is suggested that the package include both:
(1) A get-well card (preferably hand-drawn) that sends a brief, positive message of “get well soon.”
(2) The donation of a “fun activity” gift that the child can enjoy during his or her hospital stay. (Items provided must be new due to strict infection control guidelines)
As a guide to donors, Mattel Children’s Hospital maintains a wish list of “high priority” toy items that they most often provide for young patients. You might consider donating one or more items from this list as part of your package:
- Playing cards
- Crayons/coloring books
- Arts and crafts sets (e.g. jewelry making kits, stickers, glitter pens, scrapbook material)
- Action figures
- Board games
- Picture books and infant board books
- Small Lego sets
- Rattles and teethers
- Crosswords puzzle or other game magazines
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA staffs a Child Life Program that addresses the social and emotional needs of seriously ill pediatric patients and, among many services, provides patients with the opportunity for play during their hospital stay. Child Life services are provided free of charge to patients and their families and are made possible by donations to the Child Life Program.
GENTLY-USED SPORTS EQUIPMENT FOR ATHLETIC PROGRAMS IN DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES
ORGANIZATION: Children Sports International (www.childrensportsinternational.org)
PROPOSED PROJECT: Donate gently-used sports equipment to support youth sports programs run for underprivileged children. Suggested donations include:
- Baseball bats
- Baseball gloves
- Baseball helmets
- Baseballs (in good condition)
- Baseball bases
- Soccer balls
- Small soccer goals
- Shin guards (in good condition)
- Tennis rackets
- Training cones
- Cleats (in good condition)
- Other gently-used sports, training, or fitness equipment
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: Children Sports International is a 100% volunteer-run organization that provides youth sports programs to children in the Los Angeles area who are financially disadvantaged. These sports programs are offered at low-to-no cost and are designed to provide the children with the physical and psychological benefits that come from playing sports: greater physical fitness and lower obesity rates, teamwork skills, positive self-esteem, and goal setting.
BIRTHDAY-IN-A-BOX FOR CHILDREN IN HOMELESS SHELTERS
ORGANIZATION: The Birthday Box Project (www.birthdayboxproject.org)
PROPOSED PROJECT: Create a package with birthday items to enable a child in a homeless shelter to celebrate his or her birthday in a joyful, memorable way. Items might include:
- Box of cake mix
- Tub of frosting
- Birthday candles
- Package of balloons
- Birthday gift (unwrapped)
- Wrapping paper or gift bag
- Blank birthday card (for parent of homeless child to complete)
- Disposable camera
For other suggested items, please see the organization’s website. The package need not contain all of the above items. Birthday Boxes with fewer items are also welcomed and will be combined with other donations to create complete boxes.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: The Birthday Box Project is a volunteer, non-profit organization that gives homeless families in L.A. County shelters the resources needed to spend meaningful time together preparing for and celebrating birthdays. Founded in 2007 by four mothers, the Birthday Box Project currently partners with 20 different homeless shelters to distribute Birthday Boxes. This year, the Birthday Box Project will enable more than 700 homeless families to celebrate birthdays.
GENTLY-USED CHILDREN’S BOOKS FOR UNDER-STOCKED LAUSD LIBRARIES
ORGANIZATION: KOREH L.A. (www.jewishla.org/pages/koreh-la)
PROPOSED PROJECT: Collect gently-used books to donate by culling your own shelves, asking birthday party guests to each bring a used book to the party, or running a small book drive to collect used books from other family and friends. Donate these books to KOREH L.A. to be used to stock LAUSD libraries in disadvantaged communities.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: As part of The Jewish Federation’s non-sectarian literacy program (the largest volunteer children’s literacy program in the city), KOREH L.A. works with the LAUSD’s Library Services to help replenish books in under-stocked libraries in the neediest public schools. Since the inception of the program, Koreh L.A. has already restocked 18 elementary-school libraries in LAUSD.
SNACK PACKS OR HYGIENE KITS FOR THE HOMELESS IN L.A.
ORGANIZATION: PATH – People Assisting the Homeless (www.epath.org)
PROPOSED PROJECT: Assemble snack packs or hygiene kits that can be distributed to the homeless in Los Angeles. (One idea for deciding how many packs or kits a birthday child should donate is to match the number to the child’s new age.) The birthday child might also collect snack packs or hygiene kits to donate by asking birthday party guests to each bring a snack pack or hygiene kit to the party.
Snack packs can include non-perishable items such as:
- Granola bars
- Fruit leathers or dried fruit packages
- Apple sauce cups (with plastic spoon)
- Juice boxes or other drinks in plastic bottles
- Single-serve bags of pretzels or chips
Hygiene kits can include items such as:
- Hand sanitizer
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: Founded in 1984 by a community collaboration of churches, synagogues, businesses, and concerned citizens, PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) came together to address the growing problem of homelessness in Los Angeles. PATH uses Street Outreach Teams that go out on the streets to build trusting relationships with homeless people in order to encourage them to use local resources that are available to them.Snack pack and hygiene kit distribution is a vital part of this initial outreach to homeless people, often serving as the first contact in building the relationship.
SHABBAT MEALS FOR JEWS IN NEED
ORGANIZATION: Tomchei Shabbos of Los Angeles. (www.tomcheishabbos.org)
PROPOSED PROJECT: Help pack Shabbat meals for disadvantaged Jews in the Los Angeles community. Join a collective effort on any Thursday evening during the year (6:00-6:30 p.m.) to pack up Shabbat meals. Packing is done at a local Tomchei Shabbos warehouse site (9041 W. Pico Blvd). Tomchei Shabbos organizers recommend arriving at 5:50 to participate. No RSVP is needed.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: Tomchei Shabbos (“Supporters of Shabbos”) assists the Jewish needy of Los Angeles by preparing and delivering food for Shabbat and holidays. This weekly support “restores spirit and allows families to fully experience the healing magic” of Shabbat.
INFANT WARMERS FOR PREMATURE BABIES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
ORGANIZATION: Embrace (www.embraceglobal.org)
(1) Create a card for the parents of the newborn baby. You can write “Congratulations on your new baby…We are so happy that Embrace is helping to keep your baby warm.”
(2) You can purchase a book titled “Spread The Warmth” Children’s Picture Book off the website at http://www.embraceglobal.org/main/shop for $28.
“Spread the Warmth: A Story About Doing Good” is the heartwarming tale about the beginnings of Embrace, told in a magical way.
(3) You can also purchase a baby warmer, which costs $200. There is one available to view in the front office. (You can get together with someone or multiple people who share/s your birthday month and purchase it together. You can also raise the money to purchase the warmer by having a bake sale, book sale, garage sale, etc.)
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: Embrace has developed an innovative, low cost infant warmer for vulnerable babies in developing countries. Over 20 million low-birth-weight and premature babies are born every year around the world, and over 4 million die within their first month of life. Temperature regulation is a key problem among many of these infants. Embrace has developed an infant warmer that costs a fraction of the price of existing solutions, and that functions without a continuous supply of electricity.
The design looks like a miniature sleeping bag that incorporates a phase change material, which stays at a constant temperature for up to 6 hours. This low-cost solution maintains premature and low birth weight babies’ body temperature to help them survive and thrive.
To watch a video about Embrace please go to http://www.embraceglobal.org/main/why?section=video.