In the lead up to a Bat or Bar Mitzvah, young Jews like to include a charity component in their celebration. No one likes a boiler plate, cookie cutter idea, but the following is an outline of options and tools that can be helpful when trying to organize a charity component to your Bat or Bar Mitzvah.
Volunteering sounds like a perfect option for someone transitioning into adulthood. The fact of the matter is that, in the hustle and bustle of a kitchen, an 11 or 12 year old is not particularly helpful. Masbia's general rule is that you need to be at least 14 years old to come and volunteer. However, if you would like to volunteer, Masbia will make special accommodations for Bat and Bar Mitzvah youth who come to volunteer together with an adult. When signing up to volunteer, remember to mention your Bat or Bar Mitzvah so our volunteer coordinator will know to accommodate. Click here to sign up.
While cash is the most expedient and efficient way for Masbia to help feed the needy, we understand that some kids and young adults might find a food drive a little more hands on. The truth is that food drives are usually very inefficient. The randomness in the food items that get collected and the logistics of boxing it and schlepping it, often becomes a logistical nightmare. And to make matters worse, Masbia staff is then left to figure out how to distribute the collection of foods in an equitable way to clients, which is very tricky. To minimize these problems and to make your food drive more effective, we have a few suggestions about how to go about it:
1. Single Item Food Drive: Limit the number of food items you collect to one or two items, such as canned salmon or tuna. That way you will end up with a large number of the same item which makes it much easier for a soup kitchen to distribute equitably among clients. Need help in making a flier, or publicizing your food drive? Click here.
2. Wholesale Food Drive (By the Case): Write your favorite Kosher food vendors and let them know you are collecting food by the case to feed the needy at Masbia in honor of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and ask them to make a donation. You can also try your local supermarkets. Click here to see examples of a letter you can write and other tools.
3. DIY Ingredient Packages: Choose a food you particularly like, or if your Bat or Bar Mitzvah falls close to a Jewish holiday, choose a traditional holiday food, and procure the ingredients to make that dish (challah, kugel, babka, hamentaschen, etc.). Remember, stick to recipes that call for mostly shelf-stable ingredients, such as flour, sugar, salt, oil, jam, peanut butter, etc. Then create individual bags with those ingredients which can be distributed to clients. Click here for more information about this option.
Bake Sales - MASBIA'S CHOICE:
Bake Sales are the Masbia's choice for a young adult friendly, effective charity activity. A typical bake sale would have a hands-on baking component, where the child and parents could bake and sell their baked goods on a given date. But it should also have a virtual component, where you set up a page where people can donate. See options and tools for a successful bake sale here.
Cash Gift Options:
The most optimal type of charity for us is a check or online donation. We appreciate all types of contributions, whether it be through volunteering or fundraisers, but a direct donation is the most simplest and effective donation. With our purchasing power we are able to buy goods for wholesale price and tax free, making your dollar go further than if you were to collect food yourself. We understand that giving a check is not as fun and does not provide a hands on experience as the above options. However, we have created ways where you can display your Masbia donation during your Bar/Bat Mitzvah to show your friends and family your charitable contribution in honor of your celebration.
1. In Lieu of Gifts: This option is suitable for you if you are not interested in receiving gifts for your celebration and would rather your family and friends donate to charity in honor of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah. There are four different options of how to inform your guests of donating in lieu of gifts. Click here to learn more about the options and example test. Website, card, line in invitation, poster that states all checks be made to Masbia. Can potentially have a poster of total amount raised.
2. Escort/Seating cards: Buy Masbia seating cards for your event that will have a short message indicating that a donation was made with the purchase of these cards. Click here to see pricing options.
3. Meal Sponsorship Certificate Cards: Proudly display a decorated card at every seat at your party/event which will state that you have donated a meal to Masbia in honor of each guest. Each card will represent a donation of one meal at Masbia. We also offer a centerpiece card option that will display your donation in the center of the table on behalf of each guest seated at the table. Click here to view sample certificate cards.
4. Sponsorship Banner: Largely display your contribution of a minimum of $1,000 to Masbia in honor of celebration. We require that we are given a 10 day notice before the event for creating the banner. The plaque can be personalized with a blessing or with your own message. Click here for donation options and template text for the plaque.
Host You Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Masbia: Help rid the taboo and stigma of a soup kitchen by having the young adult dine with the poor and hungry. The young adult will learn some humility by hosting their Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Masbia and sponsoring that night's meal. Dinning with Masbia guests is an amazing, grounding experience for the young adult because they are able to see the reality of a soup kitchen while simultaneously breaking barriers around the stigma of visitors of soup kitchens. You have the option of having your friends and family come volunteer in the morning and early afternoon before your celebration during the meal service. For more details about how to host your Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Masbia, click here.