The Jewish Community of Greater El Paso has the opportunity to again participate in Good Deeds Day. GDD is an annual worldwide mitzvah day celebrated in April. On GDD, millions of people around the world choose to volunteer and help others, putting into practice the simple idea that every single person can do something good, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively change the world.
GDD began in 2007 as a nationwide mitzvah day in Israel with 7,000 volunteers working on 130 projects around the country. By 2010 GDD had grown to involve 70,000 volunteers working on 1,200 projects in Israel. In 2011 GDD became an international event observed in 4 countries including the USA by over 140,000 volunteers working on over 2,000 projects. In 2012, GDD reached 50 countries worldwide and over the next several years the number of volunteers and projects grew exponentially.
By 2015, almost 1 million volunteers participated in GDD and worked on 11,000 projects in 70 countries worldwide. In 2016, 1.5 million volunteers worked on 14, 000 projects in 75 countries. And last year (2017), 2.5 million volunteers from 93 countries participated in 20,000 projects, totaling over 6.7 million hours of volunteer service.
We observed GDD in El Paso / Las Cruces beginning in 2016. By 2017, we had 60 volunteers working on four social action projects: Habitat for Humanity, Jardin de Milagros, Frontera Land Alliance and Villa Maria.
Jardin de Milagros
Keystone Heritage Park
Volunteers will be helping with clean-up work at Keystone Heritage Park. All age volunteers are welcome, but minors need to be accompanied by supervising adults. The project will be from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. It is recommended that volunteers bring wide-brimmed hats, work gloves, and sunscreen and wear long pants, long-sleeve shirts, and closed shoes or boots.
El Paso Villa Maria is a shelter for women and homeless people who are in the process of healing to wholeness. Volunteers will be preparing, serving and sharing dinner with Villa Maria’s residents. Volunteers must be over 16 years old. The volunteer work includes planning the meal and shopping for the menu. We will be providing all food, dessert, drinks, dinner supplies, paper plates, cutlery, paper napkins, glasses, etc. Villa Maria recommends bringing aprons, hairnets and rubber gloves. The project will run from approximately 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm with dinner service at 6 pm. 8 to 10 volunteers are needed.
Children’s Project (at Temple Mount Sinai)
Temple Mount Sinai will be the site of a social action project for young children and their families. The approximate timeframe for the project will be 10 am to noon.
Mesilla Valley Hospice
Mesilla Valley Hospice (MVH) is the only community hospice and the only non-profit hospice in Dona Ana County. MVH is also the only hospice in New Mexico with a hospice house, La Posada. La Posada is a beautiful home away from home for those who require more intense care. MVH has provided comfort, care, compassion and high-quality care to hospice patients in Dona Ana County for 32 years. Its mission is to continue the legacy of providing comfort and compassionate care to the Dona Ana County community. Members of Temple Beth El in Las Cruces will be volunteering at La Posada on GDD-18, doing general yard work and clean-up work around the facility from about 1-4 pm.
Hospice El Paso
Hospice El Paso is the first and now, the only nonprofit hospice in El Paso. Since 1978, Hospice El Paso provides comfort, care, hope and choice to patients at the end of life's journey while guiding their loved ones through the grieving process.Volunteers will be making necessities for patients such as pillows and blankets. An instructor will guide the volunteers in making these items and no sewing machine is required. Pillows will need stuffing to close/sew opening. Blankets will need tying knots on the edges. The volunteering will take place in the Federation's offices between 1 to 3 pm. An ideal project for volunteers with limited mobility.
This is a great opportunity for all of us to participate in a Jewish Community volunteering on worthwhile projects in the greater El Paso-Las Cruces community. In addition to the wonderful satisfaction that comes from meaningful social action work, community participants will receive free t-shirts identifying our group and our participation as volunteers in international GDD-19.