Just Two Hours Can Make a Difference

A new lipstick, a fresh journal and a lovely scented lotion – these may be items that you treat yourself to regularly, but for women in economic need, these are luxuries that may be out of reach.  Volunteers at our most recent Mitzvah-in-a-Minute event decided to change that story. With the help of some generous donations, NCJW/Essex volunteers created dozens of “Take Time for You” gift bags filled with cosmetics, hair care products and other little luxuries that were presented to NCJW/Essex Center for Women clients throughout the month of May.

The gift bags are just one example of the way NCJW/Essex touches the lives of local women, children and families in economic need. The Mitzvah-in-a-Minute program is a series of community service projects planned throughout the year that can all be done in under two hours. 

One of our newer projects is creating “Period Ready Kits” in partnership with the NCJW/Essex Period.Project.  Volunteers fill cosmetic bags with sanitary pads, travel deodorant and lip balm. The bags are given to school nurses for distribution to middle school girls in need.

A favorite morning for many volunteers is chopping and slicing vegetables for freezer-ready meals as part of Mitzvah-in-a-Minute “Fill-the-Freezer.” Center for Women clients are so grateful to receive trays of homemade lasagna, burritos, soups and other hearty dishes that they can serve to their families.

Involving your children in community service is easy with Family Mitzvah-in-a-Minute events.  At these fun, child-centered events, children hear from local agencies about why their time and service are important and how the packages they are assembling help the community.

If you have two hours, you can make a difference! To learn more about volunteering, organizing or hosting a Mitzvah-in-a-Minute, please contact Dina Stambler, Director of Volunteer Outreach and Membership at dstambler@ncjwessex.org.

New Year – New Volunteer!

volunteerIt’s 2018 and time to take stock. What did you resolve to do differently this year? Exercise more? Learn a new skill or hobby? Eat less sugar?  Maybe you will join a gym, sign up for a class or buy a new diet book.

But maybe your resolutions are different this year.  Perhaps you’re considering how to make your time count and be purposeful in your life. Or, maybe you’re taking stock of the time you spend with others. If so, consider volunteering as a way to help keep your resolutions. As a volunteer, you can discover new avenues to meet people and focus the coming year on things you care about.

Whether its hours, days or weeks that you volunteer, you start to feel the impact of the time you spend helping others.  At NCJW/Essex you might help a client select an interview outfit at the Career Closet, cook meals for families in need, collect feminine hygiene products for economically disadvantaged women or be present on the other end of the phone when a woman calls because she doesn’t know where to turn. When you help a woman in transition you feel the value of your time.

Volunteering is engaging and helps you meet interesting, community-minded people. Everyone gets involved for different reasons: to attend a rally about gun safety, to teach teens about dating abuse or to lead a self-esteem workshop to help women change the way they feel about themselves… and the list goes on. At NCJW/Essex, volunteers include a rich diversity of people who share a like-minded goal – to make an impact on their communities.

Volunteering is a resolution that you can keep in 2018! It’s a resolution that will open your eyes and your hearts to people who value your time. It’s a resolution that will introduce you to new friends to involve in your life. If you want to explore volunteer opportunities with NCJW/Essex, please contact me at dstambler@ncjwessex.org. Even if it’s on a small scale, it can make an extraordinary difference in a single life.