Volunteer more — you’ll feel better

Volunteer more — you’ll feel better

I don’t know about you, but I have been having trouble sleeping. The pandemic, the uncertainty of what tomorrow looks like, missing family and friends and then the loss of RBG. It’s a lot. There is so much happening to us out of our control.
Well, on September 21, I committed to doing one thing each day to make the world a little better. In fact, on Facebook, 44 people and I are sharing the one thing we do each day and drawing energy from each other. One thing each day to help make someone’s life happier, our community more interconnected, our world a more compassionate, kinder place to live for everyone.

Hannah Senesh, a hero of the Haganah who was killed in 1944 at 23 years of age, once said, “One needs to feel that one’s life has meaning, that one is needed in this world.” She was a woman imbued with hope and purpose even in the most challenging of times. I think we all crave that feeling of being part of something greater than ourselves, where we can give whole heartedly to a cause, a purpose and feel needed no matter who we are.

A favorite quote of mine is from Helen Keller, a woman who could have been consumed by her limitations and yet used her gifts to help others.

“I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

Not only is doing for others a good thing for our community and the world, but it is a good thing for YOU. In the 2017 Doing Good is Good for You study, it was found that 75 percent of U.S adults feel physically healthier by volunteering. The mental and emotional benefits of volunteering are even greater, with 93 percent reporting an improved mood, 79 percent reporting lower stress levels, and 88 percent reporting increased self-esteem by giving back.

Well, the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey has an opportunity for you!!!

For 23 years, the federation’s Mitzvah Day has been part of our community. Over the years, tens of thousands of people have volunteered with us. We know planning events and programming is challenging during this time, but we also know that there is a great need for community and coming together to help those less fortunate.

During this pandemic, it was never a question if Mitzvah Day would take place but how we could reimagine it. We wanted to create projects that could be done in the safety of your home with family and trusted friends. The Federation is there for our Jewish community and the greater community not only when it is easy and safe but when it is challenging and difficult.

So here’s your opportunity. Join the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey’s Mitzvah Day on the Move, set for November 10 to 24. This is your chance to do mitzvahs with others and help those who are struggling in our neighborhoods and down our streets. It is easy, safe and magical. Come spread your wings and participate in something bigger than yourself.

1. Go to register at www.jfnnj.org/mitzvah

2. Pick one of 6 pop-up projects to do in your home

3. Pick a time that is convenient for you between November 10 and November 24.

4. Help and support over 2,000 recipients in vulnerable populations in our community.

5. Create a healthier, happier community & YOU.

For more information on participating and sponsorship opportunities, email Shara Nadler, the manager of the federation’s Volunteer Resource Center, at SharaN@jfnnj.org.

Sari Gross of Wayne is the founder of a 501c3 called Flames of Giving, which collects and distributes thousands of gifts for underprivileged community members every year. She is also on the federation’s board, chairs the federation’s Volunteer Resource Center, and sits on the federation’s Women’s Philanthropy board.