Jewish United Fund's TOV Network extends Good Deeds Day to a whole week
If there's a comeback of the year award for service opportunities, the Jewish United Fund of Chicago's Good Deeds Day will be a contender.
The pandemic scuttled plans for the 2020 event, typically a day of volunteerism across the suburbs and Chicago.
For this year's sixth anniversary of Good Deeds Day, the JUF's TOV Volunteer Network has rallied with a weeklong menu of supportive opportunities for nonprofit organizations, in-person and remote, from April 11-16.
"There really is something for everyone," said Elizabeth Abrams, JUF assistant vice president of communications.
Some 30 activities benefiting 20 organizations run the gamut from the fun and yummy -- baking cookies for underserved and homeless communities -- to the poignant and impactful, such as writing a letter to a soldier in Israel.
Most of the deeds are listed as "family friendly," while others, like a remote program of reading and responding to poetry by incarcerated youths, are geared to teenage participants.
A few Good Deeds Day activities require nothing more than dropping off unwanted electronics, simply donating blood, or decorating a duffel bag for a child in foster care.
All will put smiles on faces.
"This year we're excited to be able to really expand what it looks like and offer COVID-safe volunteer opportunities," said Marissa Comin, director of the JUF TOV Volunteer Network.
"Whether in person, whether from home or whether it's online, people can still do good and make a difference."
The "V" in TOV stands for volunteers, while the first two letters stand for the Hebrew words tikkun olam, meaning repair the world. That's the point of this.
Founded in Israel in 2007, Comin said, Good Deeds Day has certainly spanned the world. She said that in 2019 it was celebrated by 108 countries. Six years ago, TOV brought it to the Chicago area, and between 1,000 and 1,500 volunteers annually take part.
There are Good Deeds Day destinations in Chicago, Homewood, Lombard, Long Grove, Lake Bluff and River Forest, but there also are events close to home, if not in-home.
One, on the initial day from 10 a.m.-noon April 11, is a contactless collection drive of essential goods at the Bernard Weinger JCC, 300 Revere Drive, Northbrook. Four different organizations will benefit from that drive.
The roster of Good Deeds Day activities, along with registration information, is available online at juf.org/gdd. People with questions should email email@example.com.
"Now, more than ever, why not put your mark on the world?" Comin said. "We're proud of it always, but it feels especially important this year."