Jewish Family Service of MetroWest is excited to share that collections for our Mobilize Boston Project with the Multifaith Alliance have concluded, and our container is preparing for shipment. The project, generously funded by the Shapiro Foundation, brought schools, faith groups and community members together with the combined mission to take action for Syrian refugee families.

In these times, we can feel like our hands are tied and we can’t make an impact when we see tragedy in the world around us. This project proved otherwise and was a beautiful opportunity to act on a united front.

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The project began with the JFS x MFA Kickoff Event for Syrian refugees on Jan. 31. Energized and excited to participate, partners spread the word and planned collection drives to gather donations of hygienic, educational and medical supplies. Once distributed by MFA partners on the ground in Syria, these supplies will help refugee families maintain basic hygiene and dignity, allow children to attend school equipped with the right supplies and fill a dire need for medical supplies in Syria’s collapsed medical industry.

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Since January, partners across Massachusetts from Westborough to Brookline to the North Shore embraced the challenge! We are incredibly grateful to our 10 generous partnering organizations: Jewish Teen InitiativeThe Rashi School, Westwood High School, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Congregation Mishkan Tefila, Edwards Church of Framingham, Temple Beth Sholom of FraminghamCongregation B’nai Shalom of WestboroughTemple Beth Elohim of Wellesley and a third class from Westwood.

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We also had individual contributions from Ava and Josie’s mitzvah projects. Together, these groups mobilized hundreds of volunteers and participants to donate both time and supplies to families they likely will never meet but who will benefit greatly from their generosity.

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Whether incorporating Mobilize Boston into their mitzvah projects, bringing the community together in events like Good Deeds Day and Community Action Day or classroom projects as done in the Westwood schools, our partners found ways to connect to their communities and inspire others to look beyond borders. We saw children helping children. We saw students inspired to continue learning about refugees and determined to continue helping in the future. We saw with our own eyes that together we can do more than we could ever imagine on our own!

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In June, months of collection drives and packing events came to a close. Our partners had donated suture kits and gauze for the wounded, medications for the ill and plenty of bandaids for smaller injuries. We received an amazing amount of toothbrushes, toothpaste and disposable razors to help Syrians maintain personal hygiene, lots of soap for basic cleaning and feminine hygiene products to support women’s health. Packs of pencils, composition notebooks and  backpacks will assist refugee children attending school at the camps.

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With this combined effort, the totals are truly impressive! JFS and the MFA will be sending 13,801 total items to Syria! There were 6,154 hygienic products and 3,991 educational supplies donated, along with essential medical supplies. The container received nearly 1,000 total hygiene and educational backpack kits. Hundreds of these backpacks contain cards and toys that will greet Syrian children upon opening the backpacks. In addition to the backpacks, JFS was able to donate 1,767 pieces of clothing to keep families warm and comfortable. Our combined effort will impact more than 1,000 families!

Once all partners had completed their deliveries, nearly 200 boxes were put on pallets and prepared for shipment. On June 29, a truck picked up all our supplies and headed to New York to meet the MFA. On July 5, the container was weighed and fully prepared for shipment to Syria, which will happen later this week.

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So, what’s next for the container? Once it ships out, it will begin its journey across the Atlantic to meet MFA partners on the ground in Syria, eager to distribute our supplies to refugee families. Stay tuned for further updates as the container reaches its destination!

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JFS and the MFA would like to extend our deepest appreciation for our partners’ dedication, generosity and ability to look beyond borders to unite in this wonderful cause. We are incredibly proud of what we were able to accomplish together to make the world a little bit brighter!

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