April 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

National Council of Jewish Women/Essex Provides Chesed for the Community

The National Council of Jewish Women/Essex provides several meaningful opportunities for hands-on chesed. Possibly most well-known is their Mitzvah-in-a-Minute (MIM) programs, which they have been running for many years. “It’s an opportunity for our members to give back to our community in tangible ways through collecting and delivering goods that go directly to people in need, while learning about the issues and connecting with each other in a service project,” Debra Lewis, director of communications, told The Jewish Link.

NCJW/Essex has completed four different MIMs since the fall, including a holiday toy drive for clients of the Focus Hispanic Center for Community Development and their own Center for Women; a fall food drive for Christine’s Kitchen in West Orange (and their own CFW clients), and a diaper drive for Community FoodBank of NJ and the Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges. In January, the MIM focused on food insecurity among college students, which according to their site affects approximately 40 % of all college students. Volunteers sorted, counted and weighed donations before delivering them to the Red Hawk Food Pantry on the campus of Montclair State University. They were able to provide nearly 2000 individual food items and almost 800 personal care and household items.

The latest MIM is scheduled for Thursday, March 16, just after this paper goes to print. It is focused on supporting Homeless and Trafficked Youth at Covenant House’s Newark Shelter. You can stay on top of MIM happenings by visiting their website at ncjwessex.org/mitzvah-in-a-minute/.

Lewis made sure to point out that they always carve out some of their MIM donations to support their own Center for Women clients as well. According to their website (https://ncjwessex.org/center-for-women/), the Linda and Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women (CFW) “provides holistic career and support services to women who must enter or reenter the workforce to provide for themselves and their families. At the CFW, clients can access career counseling, resume writing and job interview skills, computer classes, grants for job certification training programs, hard and soft skills workshops, access to recruitment opportunities, health and wellness workshops, family law consultations and more, including referrals to partner organizations to meet a client’s outstanding needs. Our focus is to ensure every client has the resources necessary and is empowered to reach her employment goals.”

Lastly, for 20 years, NCJW/Essex has granted annual Eskow Volunteer Awards to graduating high school seniors. The Eskow Award recognizes exceptional young people who demonstrate their commitment to making life better for others by volunteering, through either community service or advocacy. “Eskow Award winners reflect and support NCJW/Essex’s mission of improving the lives of women, children and families by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.” They are currently accepting applications (deadline is April 3). You—or the high school senior in your life—can apply here: www.ncjwessex.org/eskow-volunteer-awards/.

By Talia Liben Yarmush

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