This spring, Schechter Boston’s Parent Association (PA) organized a series of Yom Chesed opportunities for students and their families. This series of events was a reimagination of Yom Chesed, a school-wide day of service and a core program for the PA. “Service goes hand-in-hand with the values of tzedakah and tikkun olam promoted by Schechter and taught to our children. Yom Chesed provides an opportunity for parents and students to work alongside one another completing a variety of projects that benefit members of our Greater Boston community,” shared PA co-chair Shirah Rosin. 

In the wake of COVID-19, Yom Chesed became Yamim Chesed, Days of Chesed. “Creating smaller scale service opportunities for two to three grades at a time, we not only were able to continue to provide multiple service projects in a COVID-safe way, but we were also able to create spaces that allowed for community-building,” Rosin says. 

The inaugural Yom Chesed event of the year was a service day for students in grades six to eight and their families on Jan. 17. Families sorted donated clothing items and “shopped” for a specific Afghan refugee family amongst the newly organized donated items. Volunteers packaged clothing items, winter jackets and boots for more than 40 families. These items were then delivered directly to the families in need by a partner organization.

In March, students in grades two and three and their families created more than 100 bags of mishloach manot, as well as birthday cards for Holocaust survivors, gift bags for our neighbors on Stein Circle and thank you packages for our local fire and police departments. The mishloach manot were distributed on Purim by Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS) to clients of Chai Residential. 

“The PA has worked hard to develop relationships with local organizations over the years,” Rubin says. “We have ongoing monthly donations of tuna and soup that are given to JF&CS and ongoing grocery bag donations to Newton Food Pantry. Both those organizations were happy to work with us in identifying projects in which our students and their families could volunteer.”

Also in March, pre-kindergarten through grade one families created tissue-paper bouquets for residents of senior homes affiliated with JF&CS and for those receiving donated meals by JewBer, which were donated along with bags of groceries.

“Instilling the value of giving back to others and caring for our broader community is something I work to teach my kids from a young age,” Schechter parent Leora Kimmel says. “It is my job as a mom to help my kids see how they can have an impact on our world—how many small acts of kindness can help lead to change. Having meaningful and impactful Yom Chesed events with our school community helps our kids better understand the complex world around us.”

Finally, in May, grades four-to-five students and families held their Yom Chesed Service Day, putting together (and decorating!) kids’ snack bags for Newton Food Pantry. The group donated 50 bags as well as spare food and supplies. The pantry distributes kids’ bags to every child in families that visit the Newton Food Pantry on Wednesday afternoons. The decorated bags are filled with a variety of child-friendly snack foods and drinks meant to be enjoyed by kids between meals during the school week.

“Both service and community-building opportunities have unfortunately both suffered greatly with the onset of COVID,” Rubin says. “We were thrilled to have had the opportunity to revamp Yom Chesed in a way that provided both.”

This post has been contributed by a third party. The opinions, facts and any media content are presented solely by the author, and JewishBoston assumes no responsibility for them. Want to add your voice to the conversation? Publish your own post here. MORE