Stability, Support & So Many Smiles

Almost every day of the week, a group of dedicated, kind and excited volunteers go to the Chicago Mitzvah Campaign. They each greet the employees, pick up an abundance of healthy, high-quality Kosher meals and head out for the day. They stop at various houses, apartments and even hospitals to deliver the meals to those in need, all with a smile on their face. Who are these dependable and enthusiastic volunteers you ask? Yep, you guessed it…it’s team members from GADOL, Keshet’s adult day program!

The Chicago Mitzvah Campaign is Keshet’s newest programmatic partner. CMC provides services such as food, transportation and social opportunities to the local Jewish community during times of stress and need, such as frailty, illness, infirmity, and loss. Many volunteers are needed to provide this level of support. Keshet’s involvement with CMC could not have been more timely for both parties. A few months ago, Traci Kogan, the Director of Adult Day Services, stumbled across a Facebook post asking for volunteers. After hitting it off with Traci, Ed Noeh, Chicago Mitzvah Campaign’s Transportation Director asked, “Can you start tomorrow?” and, in eager Keshet fashion, team members arrived at CMC ready to help the very next day.

“The relationship between Keshet and the Chicago Mitzvah Campaign has produced a tremendous win-win outcome,” says Ed, who has been one of Keshet’s biggest advocates since their time at CMC began. While CMC provides an opportunity for GADOL to give back and participate in meaningful service, GADOL team members are able to provide crucial services to vulnerable individuals and families at CMC. Ed shares that Keshet volunteers are some of their clients’ favorites, largely due to the warmth and kindness they bring to this mitzvah. For an individual going through extreme amounts of stress, a simple smile and connection can make all the difference.

Differences are certainly not a setback either, and the beauty of GADOL’s involvement at the Chicago Mitzvah Campaign is that all team members can volunteer if they want to. On one of the routes, a man wished to connect with one of the team members who uses a communication device. When he realized he could not communicate verbally, he asked the team member to show him his schedule to learn more about him and what he was doing that day. The interactions go far beyond just the need for meals and services; clients genuinely care about the volunteers and want to build a connection with each of them. In doing so, Keshet team members know that each of their contributions are meaningful, important and make a positive impact on the community.

In a short amount of time, Keshet and the Chicago Mitzvah Campaign have built a reciprocal relationship based on trust, warmth and connection. It’s amazing to see what can happen when people in the community believe in Keshet’s mission and its participants just as much as we do. There are never enough ways we can give back and make people happy while doing it. We are hopeful that this partnership will continue to bring great opportunities, experiences and relationships for team members in the future.

Special thanks to Traci Kogan, Keshet’s Director of Adult Day Services, for her contributions to this blog. For any local community service opportunities for Keshet team members, please contact Traci

To learn more about the Chicago Mitzvah Campaign, check out their website.

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