Volunteer & Service Opportunities
Volunteer & Service Opportunities
Thursdays & Fridays, 6:00–7:30 am | Pavilion
The Breakfast Program, formerly known as the Caring Committee Feeding Program, is among Central Synagogue’s longest ongoing social justice projects. Originally conceived and implemented by longtime congregant Nat Shapiro in 1983, the Breakfast Program was started in response to Mayor Koch’s outcry for New York City’s religious institutions to respond to an exploding homeless and hungry problem. Today, many clients of the Breakfast Program are people who work multiple jobs and greatly appreciate and regularly rely on the warm, nutritious start to their day. Currently, our volunteers are helping to distribute premade sandwiches and other “to-go” items from the doors in front of the Pavilion entrance. Social distancing is observed and a contactless pickup system for the food has been arranged.
The Coming Home Project
Approximately 12 years ago, Dr. Dawn Ravella founded “Coming Home,” a prison reentry program designed to welcome formerly incarcerated individuals into a supportive community. You can learn more about Coming Home in this short video, Opening Doors.
An important component of Coming Home is mentoring. A mentor will accompany the formerly incarcerated individual as they define and develop short- and long- term goals and take steps toward achieving those goals throughout the program. Training and support for mentors is provided before and during the program.
Central Congregants Helping Underserved High School Seniors
One college advisor for 400 high school seniors; that’s the challenge the wonderful and talented students at the High School of Art and Design (just a few blocks from Central) face. The local middle school and high school serves students with artistic talents who major in architecture, painting, drawing, cartooning, film, fashion, graphic design, and set designA few of HSAD’s alumni include Art Spiegelman, Calvin Klein, Tony Bennett, and artist Lorna Simpson.
Central Synagogue is now partnering with HSAD to fill the mentorship gap for HSAD seniors, many of whom are from immigrant families and face challenges to college-literacy or access to the types of resources needed as they begin their journey toward higher education. Many students may be the first generation to attend college, some are DACA Dreamers.
Exodus Transitional Community
Our friends at Exodus Transitional Community (ETC) are working around the clock to care for men and women who are coming home from jail and prison during this challenging time. Because people are often released with only the clothes on their backs, Exodus is always in need of basic necessities to help their members.
Green Bronx Machine
Green Bronx Machine builds healthy, equitable, and resilient communities through inspired education, local food systems, and 21st Century workforce development. Dedicated to cultivating minds and harvesting hope, our school-based model using urban agriculture aligned to key school performance indicators grows healthy students and healthy schools to transform communities that are fragmented and marginalized into neighborhoods that are inclusive and thriving. A recent example of our work with Green Bronx Machine was to help prepare for spring 2021 planting day at the biggest organic soil farm in the Bronx—Food for Others Garden—where 100% of the produce grown supports families in need.
Met Council is America’s largest Jewish charity dedicated to serving the needy. Met Council’s ten different departments are staffed by experts who helped over 305,000 clients in 2020 and continuously advocate on behalf of all needy New Yorkers on issues of affordable housing, domestic violence, Holocaust survivor assistance, senior programming, and food insecurity. An example of Central's recent service opportunities with Met Council was packaging food deliveries for Holocaust survivors at the Met Council's Greenpoint, Brooklyn, warehouse.