Social Action/Tikun Olam
SA/TO Program Ideas
Another part of SA/TO is the wonderful world of Social Action. Here are some program suggestions that chapters and regions can incorporate into your events.
- FANN – Feed A Needy Neighbor – Have a food collection box set up in your synagogue at all times. Contact your Rabbi to find out if there is a local shelter that you can bring the food to. You can also have a different theme for each month, such as baby food, or food for Passover.
- Project Graduation – Invite USYers to a drug free and alcohol-free graduation party. Call the members of your synagogue to get donations to sponsor this graduation party, so that the USYers can come for free. Donate the extra money to Tikun Olam.
- Bar/Bat Mitzvah Clothing Drive – Try to get bar and bat mitzvah age kids to include a letter with their invitations asking guests to bring either food, clothing , or toy donations to the affair.
- River/Beach Clean Up – Go with your local USY chapter to clean up a local beach, pond, or river.
- Nature Hike – Take your USY chapter on a nature hike at a local nature center. Ask them if there is any yard work or cleaning up you can do. Invite everyone to stay after for a picnic.
- Humane Society – Contact your local Humane Society to find out if they need any volunteers. They usually need people to walk dogs or help them clean up. Some humane societies require you to be over sixteen in order to volunteer.
- Hospital Helpers – Find out if your local hospital has a candy striper volunteer program. You can also try to have your USY chapter go to the hospital on Chanukah or Purim to sing in the children’s ward.
- Tutoring – Volunteer to tutor a Hebrew school student who is having trouble. Don’t accept money, but if the parents insist, have them give a donation to Tikun Olam instead.
- Highway, Campus, or Synagogue Cleanup – Contact your city hall to find out if there is a park or highway that needs to be cleaned up. This is a good project to do during the spring.
- Sandwich Brigades – Ask people in your synagogue to donate bread, peanut butter and jelly, and any other things that could be used to make sandwiches. Then have USYers make an assembly line at your synagogue to make as many sandwiches as possible. Bring the sandwiches to a local homeless shelter. Make sure to contact a shelter before you do this program. There may be certain restrictions involved or a certain way they need to be packaged.
- AIDS or Drunk Driving Awareness – A group program involving notecards saying “I have AIDS,” or “I am rich,” or “I have contagious disease” or “I was killed by a drunk driver” … Each notecard says something different. The notecards are then taped, on each person’s back, facing out so what is written can be read. Then, everyone stands up and acts and treats everyone else like they really have AIDS or whatever it says on their card. After about l5 minutes, everyone sits down and says how they felt and were treated.
- Assisting local Jewish Federation – Many times local Jewish Federations hold fundraising events or telethons to raise money for various causes. Call them up and volunteer to help the Jewish community at large.
- Kashering the Kitchen – Offer to help your synagogue Kasher their kitchen for Pesach. It’s a tough job, but a great way to become more involved in your community.
Is your chapter looking for the perfect small program idea? Well then you’ve found the right place to look! Also, don’t forget to check the main USY Online Program Bank.
- Phone-a-thon – USYers meet on a Sunday and go through the synagogue roster asking for T.O. donations.
- Fashion Show – Get businesses to donate clothes and have people wear them in a fashion show. Charge admission to congregants for coming. Provide food.
- Closed Shoe box auction – Everyone brings something worth about $3 and up. They try to sell their box without telling everyone what it is. They make it sound as good as possible. All money raised goes to Tikun Olam.
- Bagel Sale – Sell bagels on Sunday mornings in your synagogue lobby. (This is only successful is your Shul has a Hebrew school, or if many people are there on Sunday mornings.) Remember to tell your local bagel shop that all proceeds go to T.O. and charge enough to make a good profit.
- Car Wash
- Entertainment for Tikun Olam – Ask a local high-school band (preferably Jewish) or a comedian to come entertain at your shul. Charge between $10- $25 (depending on expenses) and with proper publicity, this event is a huge success.
- Silent Auction – Great event for a Purim carnival. Ask for donations from community stores and set up a silent auction with proceeds going to T.O.
- Dance-a-Thon – The dance-a-thon is a fund-raiser for TO. Each member is given a pledge sheet to get money to dance for a night. This can be based on the minute, hour, set, or whatever the chapter decides. The money is then collected for the amount of time each person dances.