At the start of the year, Greenwich middle and high school students embarked on a philanthropy project at JCC Greenwich to help raise money to end childhood hunger. Through a partnership with Areyvut, a Jewish non-profit organization based in New Jersey that infuses the lives of Jewish youth with the core Jewish values of chesed (kindness), tzedakah (charity), and tikkun olam (social action), members of the JCC’s Teen Action Committee met monthly to learn more about community needs and philanthropy. They built their own fundraising website, designed and sold custom T-shirts, and held a phone-a-thon. The teens donated the $1,000 raised to the Kosher Food Pantry of Jewish Family Service (JFS) in Stamford and Leket Israel, Israel’s largest food rescue organization.
“By participating in the Teen Action Committee, I learned that teens of any age can work together to take initiative and enact change,” says Becca Powell, a rising senior at Greenwich High School.
The Kosher Food Pantry’s Rebekah Kanefsky said the funds would help purchase a new freezer that would be put to good use serving the approximately 15,000 meals per year that the pantry provides to families throughout Lower Fairfield County.
Learning about food needs around the world helped change the perspective of teens like 14-year-old Reese Ochoa. “As a result of the project, I feel very lucky for where I live and to have food on the table,” said Ochoa.
Leah Schechter, assistant director of JCC Greenwich, commended the teens. “We are so proud of what the Teen Action Committee has achieved this year in doing their part to help create a world where no child goes to bed hungry,” she said. “The process has been an important learning experience for this group of teens in philanthropy and fundraising for tzedakah.”
For more information about Areyvut, or to bring a teen philanthropy program to your community, call (201) 244-6702 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAP: Leah Schechter, assistant director of JCC Greenwich, with a few of the Teen Action Committee members: (l to r) Reese Ochoa, Natalie Lilien and Rebecca Powell.