by Gilah Benson-Tilsen
BEKI Youth Group Coordinator
As one of our many community service projects this past year, a group of 12 volunteers – BEKI USY and Kadima members and parents – efficiently packed several hundred bags of food with 10 food items per bag, for distribution at several local schools.
The Food4Kids Backpack Program at the Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Greater New Haven’s Food Pantry, where these were assembled, provides weekly bags of food for children who are chronically hungry. Under the direction of Sandy Hagan, the Food Pantry and Nutritional Health Center Director and Coordinator of Agency Operations, we raced toward the finish line. We made good time until the very end, when the rapid pace backfired and we lost count of how many bags we finished. After a recount, we confirmed that the right number of bags was packed, and we went into the back room for a group picture.
Projects like these help increase our appreciation of our place in the BEKI community, the Jewish community, and the New Haven community. Upholding our ideal of Tikun Olam is a central part of our Youth Groups’ mission, and we had a successful year following this principle.
BEKI Kadima and United Synagogue Youth (USY) empower Jewish middleschoolers and high-schoolers to plan and participate in educational, religious, community service, and social events. Both groups are open to all Jewish youth, regardless of synagogue affiliation. For more information, see beki.org/youth/ kadima-usy/. We are always happy to welcome new members and attendees.