Inspired by the Jewish value of social action, Hillel students from around the globe participated in Good Deeds Days, an international day of volunteering. Below are highlights from their volunteer projects:
One with Nature
After a five-hour road trip, students from Hillel for Utah University arrived at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter in the small desert town of Kanab, Utah. Their weekend service project involved collecting litter, weeding dog yards and cleaning grime from markers in a pet cemetery. Participants also celebrated Shabbat with a traditional dinner and discussed tzaar b’alei chayim, the Jewish commandment that prohibits animal cruelty.
Take Out the Trash
With paddles in hand, Hillel students piled into canoes to scoop more than 1,000 pounds of trash out of Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor, one of America’s oldest seaports. Volunteers represented Hillels across Baltimore County, including Goucher College Hillel, Towson University Hillel, Johns Hopkins University Hillel and University of Maryland-Baltimore County Hillel.
On Your Feet
Beneath a cloud-filled sky, Hillel Russia participants danced in Gorky Park, located in central Moscow, to raise money for children who have aged out of orphanage care and are trying to start a life of their own. They represented some of the 1,000 students and community members who participated in various Good Deeds Day activities organized by Hillel Russia.
Box It Up
Students from Hillel at Temple University boarded an early morning bus to volunteer at the Jewish Relief Agency, a nonprofit organization that alleviates hunger for more than 6,000 low-income individuals across Philadelphia. Fueled by doughy bagels and hot coffee, students dedicated five hours to packaging boxes of food for community members in need.
Off the shelf
Hillel Israel, which has led the global effort to unite Hillel students on Good Deeds Day, organized a used book sale at Hebrew University, the second oldest institution of higher education in Israel. Buyers chose from a wide variety of page-turners, including secular and religious books. Event proceeds were used to organize programs for elderly citizens in Jerusalem.Seeds of Hope
After lacing up their sneakers, students from Hillel at University of Texas, Dallas headed to the Plano Community Garden, just a short car ride away from campus. They spent their Sunday planting seeds and weeding flower beds at the garden, which provides more than 5,000 pounds of fresh, organic produce each year to local food pantries.
In honor of Good Deeds Day, University of North Carolina Hillel partnered with SAFEchild, a nonprofit organization that supports victims of child abuse. More than 30 Hillel students spent their Sunday assembling no-sew fleece blankets for children served by SAFEchild.