US Chesed News

Volunteering Opportunities over the Holiday Season
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Thursday 4th December 2014

Many of you helped some great causes as part of Mitzvah Day and now there is another opportunity for you to do so again– whether as part of a family group or an individual. There are opportunities for everybody. The period over Christmas and New Year is meant to be joyful, but can be a difficult time for people in need. It is also a time where many of the non-Jewish support staff who work in care homes are on holiday themselves and need someone to cover their roles. As members of the United Synagogue, many of whom will not be at work during this time, this provides us with an excellent opportunity to put Chesed into action. Below is a selection of wonderful volunteer opportunities available over the holiday period, which we have compiled with the help of the Jewish Volunteering Network (JVN). 

Do please let us know how you get on. 

1) Tikkun

Tikun is once again proud to present their annual volunteering project - Light Up a Life!  Now in its 7th year, Light Up a Life runs from December 23 - January 2. The initiative seeks to fill the gaps left by workers and families going on vacation by placing Jewish volunteers in their stead. With ten days of action packed activities there is sure to be something fun and meaningful for everyone!

Register now on

Email: Kaela at for more details.

  • Make it, Bake it, Buy it

The men and women of London’s Fire Brigade work tirelessly to ensure our safety. They don’t take time off for festivals or holidays and so here is our chance to say thank you! Show your gratitude by baking some cookies, making a card, or buying chocolates and delivering it to a station.   

  • Cooking and Crafts  

Baking, and Decorating and Crafts - oh my! Join us as we bake cookies for GIFT, make paper snowflakes for Haven House Children’s Hospice and create rainbow looms for children in hospital.  This activity is a fun and meaningful volunteering event for the entire family.  

  • Packing and Sorting for Asylum Seekers

The holiday season gives us time to explore the city in which we live. It allows us to appreciate the fact that we were born in a safe and accepting country, and also provides an opportunity to help those who weren't.  This holiday season: sort, pack, or transport clothing and footwear for asylum seekers. Families with children are welcome - many hands make light work! 

  • Soup and Tea Runs with The Simon Community:

The Simon Community believes in developing supportive relationships with those who are vulnerable, isolated, and sleeping rough. Soup and tea run volunteers will have the opportunity to reach out to the people hit hardest by the winter months and counter prejudice and discrimination with tolerance and understanding. Volunteers must be 19+. 

2)  Crisis at Christmas

Crisis is the national charity for single homeless people. Between the 23rd and 30th of December they are looking for volunteers to provide support, companionship, activities and vital services, and to help people take their first steps out of homelessness.

You can sign up as a General, Logistics, Service or Activities and Entertainments volunteer.

Please email for more details or to register.

3) Cricklewood Homeless Concern/Ashford Place

Ashford Place is a community resource centre, providing advice and practical support on a wide range of issues including; homelessness, training, employment and health. 

Over the holiday period they are looking for volunteers for two projects:

Meals on Wheels: Volunteers will be involved in helping in the kitchen, serving lunch to homeless, packing meals and doing wash –up. They are required to commit a minimum of 3 hours anytime between 10am to 3pm any day of the week.

Accommodation Project: Volunteers would be asked to provide a programme of social activity for guests to help them enjoy the festive period, and to keep them motivated and positive.

Please email Carmen Llorente at for more details or to register.

4) Christmas Wrapping Helpers

CWH are running Christmas Wrapping stations at both St Ann’s & St George’s shopping centres in Harrow (HA1 1AR) during December to raise money for St Luke’s Hospice. In exchange for a donation you will be wrapping shopper’s Christmas presents. Shifts are 3 to 4 hours on 6th, 7th, 13th to 24th December.

Please email Jenn at, for more details or to sign up.

5) British Friends of Boys Town Jerusalem

Boys Town Jerusalem organises the Jewish Primary School Choral Festival on Sunday 18th and 25th January at the Artsdepot in North Finchley, London. The event runs from 4:00pm until 9:00pm.  They are looking for volunteers to assist the Event Manager with customer liaison and handling payments and generally ensuring that the event runs smoothly.

Please email Rachel or Ilan at, to register or for more details.

6) Support someone with a learning disability with Kith and Kids (Seven Sisters area)

Kith & Kids provides activities, opportunities, information and support for people with a learning disability or autism, their parents and siblings.

They are looking for volunteers to support and encourage members to get involved in the activities, such as art, music, sports, video, games etc. No experience necessary just enthusiasm and energy!  27th - 31st December, 9:30- 5:30 every day, although they can be flexible if you can't make all days.

Please email Megan at to register or for more details.

7) Festive lunch for the elderly on 25 Dec at JW3

Cooking, hosting, entertaining, washing up, driving – take your pick! For 25th Dec they are looking for volunteers who can help with: Lunch preparation from 10am to 1pm, Lunch and entertainment from 1pm to 4pm, Clearing up from 4pm to 5pm.

Please email Jemma or Mimi at or to register or for more details.

8) Sandwich Ninja!

Making up festive treat packages for homeless and needy people (Sun 21st Dec 2.30pm - 4 pm).  For those who can afford to contribute - please bring a loaf of bread and enough protein-based, ready-made filling to fill it (e.g. meats, egg, tuna, fish pastes, avocado etc.) - all other equipment/sundries provided. From 8 years old and up (Under 18s must be accompanied by an adult) Maxwell Park Community Centre, Maxwell Road, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 1JJ.

Please email Sarit Gafan at to register or for more details.

9)  DRIVERS North London Hospice – Finchley

To pick up nurses from their homes and bring into the North London Hospice and returning home when there is no public transport over the Christmas Holidays. Christmas day / Boxing Day / New Year’s Day.

Please email Kinga Kruk at for more details.