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25 Days of Giving: Day 9

GIving back with Oliver Twist on Day 9!

Today were treated to a wonderful production of the British musical Oliver! performed by the Youth Theater Production at the Mandell Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Hartford. Based on the novel, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, all of the young performers sang their hearts out. We were excited to show our support for our friends who were in the show- playing the lead of Oliver (!) and some of the orphan boys.

Knowing we were going to see the show, I called my friend Annie, the Associate Executive Director of the Mandell JCC, to ask about giving opportunities there. I should back up and share first how wonderful the JCC is about giving back to our community. If you live in West Hartford you have probably at some point walked through their doors, either on their main campus or the outdoor swimming pool. We joined earlier this year when our daughter began swimming on the club’s team. We had been many times before, for special events and birthday parties, but until we became members, I had no idea the extent of how much they offer and give back to families in the region.  With camps in the summer, afterschool care and programs during the school year, and family events throughout the year, the Mandell JCC is truly a big part of the West Hartford community and beyond. They are a Jewish community “open to everyone regardless of faith, who value caring and sharing with each other. It is a place that is warm and inclusive. It is a place to call your own.” (taken from their website)

When I spoke to Annie about our Giving Back, she suggested we may like to bring in some food donations for their ongoing food drive, “Operation Yes We Can!” Since 2008, the Mandell JCC has  hosted in this drive, which they then deliver full shopping carts of kosher and non-kosher food each week to area food pantries. With the number of families needing food assistance increasing each year, the Mandell JCC invites families to give back and help feed the hungry. It is fitting that a musical, based on the story of a young orphan boy, who is left out on the street, cold and hungry, would be the backdrop for our giving today. To quote from the JCC’s website:  “…because hunger is not just a holiday phenomenon. “Operation Yes, We Can!” is an opportunity for our members to play a leadership role in helping to create a hunger-free community.”

How to Give Back: “Operation Yes We Can!” is an ongoing food drive, and is always looking for food donations from members and guests. The donations are then distributed to Jewish Family Services and Food Share.  Donations from the community of cash, gift cards and non-perishable food items (both kosher and on-kosher) are always welcome, and can be dropped off daily at their main campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. For more information, visit www.mandelljcc.org

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