Mitzvah Corps

Mitzvah Corps

Join the Corps! Better Our Community. Volunteer Together.
The SJCC’s volunteer program, Mitzvah Corps, addresses the needs of our local community through volunteer opportunities and outreach programs where neighbors can help neighbors. Together, we’ll focus on different issues throughout the year as our community’s needs evolve.

The term “mitzvah” is often translated to “good deed,” and when translated directly means “commandment,” reminding us to act with gratitude and kindness each and every day. Join the Mitzvah Corps today!

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Find out how to get involved and spread light every day. Jump to:
Ways to Get Involved |Request Food Assistance | Food Assistance FAQ
Other Volunteer Opportunities | Learning Together | Community Resources

Fall Initiative: Food Insecurity

This fall, the Mitzvah Corps is focused on food insecurity. The number of people in Washington who are food insecure has almost doubled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SJCC aims to spread light in this darkness by distributing food from our building on Mercer Island located conveniently just off I-90. Over the next few months, we will source and distribute food to those in need to provide support during this challenging time.

Request Food Assistance

If your family is in need of food assistance, your neighbors are here to help. Fill out the form below to make your request. Food packages are available for pickup every Monday from noon to 2 pm at the Stroum Jewish Community Center, located just off I-90 (3801 E Mercer Way, Mercer Island, WA 98040). You can select the type of food package you’d like as well as the day(s) for pick up. All food will be non-prepared goods.

Your privacy is important. Your request will stay anonymous and only be counted to ensure food is available for you.  Pick-up instructions will be provided upon registration. Request food assistance >>

Ways to Get Involved

Donate Non-Perishable Food/Items: You can donate the following items. Please note, we cannot accept any meat, dairy, frozen products, or prepared foods.

  • Non-perishable food requests: Cheerios, Life cereal, instant oatmeal,  oatmeal canister, pasta (any kind), rice, quinoa, couscous, canned tuna, canned salmon, juices, tomato sauce, jam, peanut butter, beans, canned veggies, canned soup, canned/jarred tomato products
  • You can drop off donations at the J between 9 am and 6 pm, Monday-Friday or 10 am to 3 pm, Saturday-Sunday. Drop-off your items in the bin at the top of the entrance ramp. Please note, you will not be allowed into the building.

(Due to the tremendous community response, we are no longer accepting paper bags. Thank you for your help!)

Monetary Donations: these funds will go directly toward purchasing food for those in need. Donate here >>

Help in the Kesher Community Garden: food from the SJCC’s Kesher Community Garden will go to families in need. As we honor the Earth around us by working the soil, we are linked to our neighbors by sharing the food produced. Spend time caring for and harvesting all the plants here. This is appropriate for people who know how to garden and people who have never gardened before!

Share your Garden: donate food from your garden to distribute to those in need.

  • Requested foods include bell peppers, potatoes, carrots, berries, zucchini, kale, cucumber, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, onions, shallots, chives, and spinach.
  • Donated food must be whole, uncooked, and uncut.
  • You can drop your donations off at the SJCC on Saturdays and Sundays between 10 am and 3 pm and Mondays between 8 am and noon.

Other Volunteer Opportunities

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Ongoing opportunities at the J

Learning Together

Check back here for resources and experiences to deepen our knowledge about mitzvot (“good deeds” or “commandments”), including resource guides, webinars, and more!

Community Resources

Food Insecurity FAQ

Why food distribution?
There are incredible organizations in the greater Seattle area addressing food insecurity. The SJCC has been in contact with Jewish Family Services (JFS), Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS), and the Mercer Island School District (MISD) to best understand the needs of our local community. The answer to our question, “Does the area need more assistance in food distribution?” was “Yes, please.” We gathered data on individuals and families in the area, started planting in our Kesher Community Garden, and are continuing conversations with local organizations addressing food insecurity to make sure we are partnering together. Click here to find additional food assistance resources in the area.

What if I know someone who is food insecure?
If you or someone you know is in need of food for any reason, we are here to help. Fill out this form to sign up for a food package and click here to see additional community resources. Not seeing what you need? Contact Stephanie Aaronson to help find other resources.

Why food distribution at the SJCC?
The pandemic has greatly impacted the way food is distributed to those in need, and the current distribution sites are in need of assistance. After speaking with local organizations, we realized we can help fill the gap by creating a food distribution hub here on Mercer Island for the island and surrounding areas. Not only is the SJCC on Mercer Island, it is also conveniently located off of I-90.

Do you have to live on Mercer Island to request food?
Our goal is to help those in our community, but we will do our best to provide food to those who sign up for distribution no matter where they live. We will also provide resources in and around the area for people to continue receiving food or other assistance.

Where are we currently sourcing food?
The food we are distributing comes from our SJCC Kesher Community Garden, the Mercer Island Farmer’s Market, and food donations from our community.

How do I volunteer?
We love having volunteers! Email Stephanie Aaronson if you are interested in volunteering with the Mitzvah Corps. We have virtual, in-person, and off-site opportunities available. All are following safety guidelines during the pandemic. See Ways to Get Involved.

What age are volunteers?
Volunteers can be any age!  We have opportunities for families, teens, and adults. Interested in volunteering? Email Stephanie Aaronson to learn more.

What topics will the Mitzvah Corps focus on?
We’re focusing on issues that are impacting our community, so our focus will evolve as the community’s needs shift. What’s next? You tell us! If you have suggestions for ways to help our community, email Stephanie Aaronson.

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