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June 3, 2008

Beth Israel volunteers pitch in for NWPM

On May 4, more than 260 members of Congregation Beth Israel participated in “Mitzvah Day”—a day of community service. Two of their projects directly benefited Northwest Portland Ministries.
In planning the day’s activities, event chair Carole Barkley, a past president of the NWPM board, enlisted the help of our volunteer coordinator, Kelly Caldwell. “It was really nice to be able to have Kelly involved,” said Carole. “I had no idea how I was going to find enough community projects for that many volunteers on a Sunday!”
With Kelly’s help, ten projects were lined up—among them pulling ivy on trails in Tryon Creek State Park, working in two community gardens, picking up litter in the neighborhood, doing “fix up” at Friendly House Community Center, and holding a food drive to benefit the NWPM emergency food box program.
“The food drive was an obvious choice,” Carole noted, “because Beth Israel is one of the sponsors of the food-box program.” Team leaders Eve Rosenfeld and Jane Netboy passed out grocery bags and flyers after services and set up collection barrels on the synagogue campus. On Mitzvah Day, a team of volunteers sorted and organized food and other grocery items into more than 60 bags and boxes for transport to the food-box pantry.
Meanwhile, another team of volunteers prepared a mailing for NWPM’s annual fund drive. Under Kelly’s direction, they stuffed, labeled, and stamped 900 letters to our organization’s supporters and friends.
At the end of the day, volunteers–some of whom had been transported to and from their work sites via NWPM vehicles—gathered on the synagogue lawn for a party, complete with live music. “This was a good example of how NWPM and a religious congregation can work together to benefit the community,” said Carole. “We plan to do it again!”

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