As we have gradually become accustomed to our “new normal” and things are beginning to slowly (but surely!) open back up again, something that I encourage you to think about is volunteering. There is not one standard way to give back to your community, and some of the things we are so accustomed to may not come back for a long time. However, many of Chicago’s places that regularly accept volunteers have started opening back up again. Before quarantine happened, I had never volunteered at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Now I have already been there twice since it has allowed volunteers and I felt comfortable the entire time. While I was not necessarily prepared for the physical labor, it felt amazing to actually be doing things with a purpose that really required work. I went with my grandma and sister the first time I went and they found it easier than I did! What I really liked about the Greater Chicago Food Depository is that they have you do different things each time you go, and once you are done they give you a numerical value of the work you have completed. When my cousin visited us from St Louis, after quarantining we went to Cradles to Crayons. Although I had volunteered there in the past, this was a much more personal experience to me because they only allowed small groups and it was just 4 of us working together. During my summer of Covid, every day has almost felt the same. Volunteering at these two organizations has given me a chance to do something different. Not only did it switch up my pace, it has felt amazing to get out of the house and do something for the greater good of my community. Besides these organizations, there are a number of places you can volunteer at in the Chicagoland area and be safely socially distanced. However, if you still do not feel comfortable - don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to give back. Tikkun Olam is more important than ever.
Sofia More is a rising junior at Jones College Prep. She is a Diller Teen Fellows Alum and this past summer a JCC on the Go-Go counselor. She is currently in JUF’s Research Training Internship, BBYO, Temple Sholom’s Midrich program, and Jewish Student Connections Club. Sofia is an activist for lgbtq+, female, Jewish, and BIPOC voices in her community and beyond. She is extremely passionate about voters rights and representation
If you are interested in learning more about volunteering opportunities near you, contact Genna Kahn, Program Director,Teen Volunteering and Philanthropy at GennaKahn@juf.org
Below are some opportunities to explore