Operation #1: Making sandwiches for Hyde Park's Homeless.
When: Every Thursday (starting next week, not this one because I'll be in NYC). 4.30 pm. Place TBA (since Hillel closes at 4.30 on Thursdays... Not sure what to do about that)
Why: Because we have responsibility to the people around us. If you are one of those people who believe people choose to be homeless, I don't want to hear it, and you don't have to come.
I'll buy some bread and peanut butter. Feel free to donate some materials to the cause.
Operation #2: I'm gonna ask Rabbi Brackman about visiting elderly people in the area.
All details on this one TBA.
In addition, there is a nursing home near the Shoreland (Montgomery Place) that I will try to contact and see if we can put together a regular group that visits, although I hear they're not so open to this.
Also, a lot of elderly people in the area can use help with grocery shopping and errands, ESPECIALLY in the winter months. I'm going to see if we can find people who can use our help.
Operation #3: Learning Torah
When: Well I don't know whatever happened to my Weekly Beit Midrash program, but we're gonna learn mishnayot at Hillel every shabbos. Anyone is welcome. We'll be in the beis (beit midrash for the sephardim among us--third floor sacred book library for those who like English better). You'll know when because I will inevitably yell that we're going to learn upstairs. I guess this one is less chessed related, but whatever, mitzvot are good too. Plus, maybe we'll learn about tzedaka and then we can tie it in. Or not.
Operation #4: (Thanks for Hila for inspiration)--clothing drive. Lots of us have lots of clothing to give away.
Let's gather it in one place and give it to people who need it.
This one's open for discussion re: where to give the clothing.
Operation #5: (Also thanks to Hila)--challah baking and proceeds to tzedaka--
This one takes a lot more time and also people buying the challah etc., so maybe this could be a less regular event.
Operation #6: (Thanks to Nathalie)--crocheting/knitting hats for cancer patients
This one is easy for anyone who knows how to crochet or knit. If you don't know how to, I would be thrilled to teach you how to crochet. We should probably go downtown to acquire some more yarn because I'm a tad low, but that can be fun too.
Operation #7: (Also thanks to Nath)--tutoring
There are loads of opportunities to tutor around campus--Calvert House and NSP are just two of many options. I don't know that we should start from scratch, but we can definitely help people find a way to do this, as well as just encouraging ourselves to do it since it is such a wonderful thing to do, and something we are all capable of.
Operation #8: (Thanks to Hillel Gray)
Volunteering at soup kitchens in the area. Hillel has suggested one in the comments section, but there are a whole bunch in the area. I'll work on looking into this, and I actually have a bunch of numbers in my phone from a CFI event.
We should also stress that there are so many small things we can do that have a huge impact on the people around us. We can not talk lashon hara, we can be aware of the feelings of people around us, we can hold open doors, we can help an elderly person cross the street. I don't have to go through the small acts of chessed (or even sometimes just refraining from doing bad things) that we can all do, but we should heighten our awareness to them.
Any other ideas--feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post comments.