Jewish Teen Funders Network: Campers Visit Local Non-Profits

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After writing their own mission statement and learning about a number of organizations in need of support, ten Shoafim campers visited two local non-profits.

First the campers visited the Vilas County Humane Society.  They toured the entire facility, a small building which shelters hundreds of animals over the course of the year. The Vilas County Humane Society only has one full time worker and a number of committed and hard-working volunteers.  It was clear to the campers that they could make a real difference with their philanthropic support.

Next the campers traveled to the Headwaters Food Pantry in Land O’ Lakes.  This organization recently bought an industrial-sized freezer to store some of their goods, and it is housed in a building in need of repair.  The campers’ philanthropic funds will help reconstruct and fix the roof so it can withstand harsh winter conditions.

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Shoafim experienced a day in the life of the pantry—from the frozen goods section, to the dry goods section, to the canned goods section. They learned about the families the pantry serves, the high and low service times for the pantry, and how it serves the community. Shoafim participants were surprised to learn that the pantry serves such a huge population—anywhere from 50-70 families each time they open their doors.

Now that Shoafim has learned about a total of five organizations—including Innovation Africa (an organization that brings Israeli technology to African villages), Matan (a Jewish organization that serves people with special needs), and Leket Food Bank (an organization that feeds Israel’s hungry)—they will be choosing where and how to allocate $1,000, a grant provided by the Jewish Teen Funders Network.  Participating campers have learned a lot about running a philanthropic organization over the past weeks, and now have a lot to think about: where the money can make the most impact, where their responsibilities lie, and how these organizations fit within their mission.

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Here is some of what the Shoafim participants have learned from their experiences with the Jewish Teen Funders Network’s Camp Philanthropy Program:

Moira W. – It was really cool to see these local organizations and learn how they decide to use the money they receive. It was surprising to see how much work is done by volunteers and how passionate they are about their work.

Nesya G. – I loved seeing the local organizations and how much a small amount of money can do for them. It was cool how the Humane Society only has two workers, and how organized the Pantry was.

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Dani O – When we first started, we saw the organizations’ mission statements. But at the site visits, we saw the organizations in action and how they followed their mission statements. I was impressed by how passionate their volunteers are and how much the community helps keep these organizations alive so that they can keep helping people.

Natan V. – I learned that food pantries aren’t just about handing out food.  It’s very organized and a bigger process when you learn about it.

Molly S. – I’ve loved this experience, because it gave me a whole new outlook on how organizations support people in need and how they function with little money to really help save people in need.

Samantha B. – I got to see how much work these people put into helping others. They help hundreds of people every month, and it was great to see how much they care about their communities.

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