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#RepairTheWorldWednesday with Meredith Rivkin

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Meredith Rivkin

When we were unexpectedly quarantined, I decided it was a good time to brainstorm a new mitzvah project. I knew that we needed some cheer and inspiration, so for my bat mitzvah project, I designed an original lawn sign, sold them for charity, and installed them all over towns near me! I designed and purchased 300 of the lawn signs and personally installed about 250 of them. For people out of town, I also sent them a PDF of the sign to print and put in their windows. There were signs in windows in Texas, California, Oregon, Michigan, Maryland, Washington D.C, and New York!

In just a couple of weeks, I raised and donated more than $4,500 to local food pantries to help them support less fortunate people during the uncertain times of COVID-19. I distributed the money to five organizations that support food insecurity which is growing daily because of job losses and other struggles. I have given money to the West Deerfield Township Food Pantry, the Northfield Township Food Pantry, the Moraine Township Food Pantry, the Hunger Resource Network/Hunger-Free Northbrook, in support of 400 students, and Gratitude Generation, where twice I provided lunch for a group home and also 75 Waukegan-area students. My story also got local media coverage.  

I am so happy that my story is getting out there and that I made such a big impact on my community. I love that my idea was current and realistic to achieve. I had a lot of time and help from my family and my hope was that my inspirational lawn signs would help people get through the tough times we are living in and brighten up neighborhoods. 

My project was a huge hit and I sold out in the first week and had to order more! I was really surprised by how far the word got about my project and the signs. My mom was even tagged on a local social media page with more than 15,000 moms, and people all over our neighborhood were excited to know the project was mine.  

I am really proud of how many people knew about it and saw them on their walks and bike rides around the neighborhood. The directors at all of the organizations I supported were thrilled about how far the donations I made would go to help people in need. I helped people in so many ways, from providing smiles to much-needed food. They were all very grateful and so am I.