Want to help? Volunteer opportunities grow during crisis

It’s no secret that parts of the Bay Area community are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. Jewish food banks are seeing a tenfold growth in demand, incomes are vanishing, and some people are more isolated than ever.

For those who want to help out, donating their time and energy during this unprecedented time of need, J. has compiled a list of volunteer opportunities at Jewish organizations.

Did we miss any? Please email [email protected].

San Francisco

Congregation Emanu-El maintains a list of volunteer opportunities, including helping out the Institute on Aging, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, UCSF and more.

Congregation Beth Sholom is organizing people to do grocery shopping, make food and medication deliveries, drive people to urgent appointments and make phone calls of support. The synagogue is also donating money to help cover the costs of groceries and supplies for congregants in need. Call (415) 221-8736, or click here.

The Southside Jewish Collaborative, comprising Congregations Beth Israel Judea, Ner Tamid, B’nai Emunah and the Or Shalom Jewish Community, is pooling volunteer efforts at the S.F.-Marin Food Bank. Contact Bonnie at [email protected].

Jewish Community Federation is hosting a blood drive on June 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the American Red Cross. Click here for details.

East Bay

Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay is organizing phone support and shopping for vulnerable and isolated community members, as well as an assortment of non-Covid-related volunteer opportunities. For information, visit jfcs-estbay.org/getting-started. Or click here to fill out an interest form.

Temple Isaiah is looking for people with sewing expertise to make masks, donate PPE, offer living space for frontline health care workers and run errands for the elderly. Click here for more information or contact Leslie Shafton from Values in Action at [email protected].

Chabad of the Tri-Valley is looking for volunteers who can shop, drive and make deliveries. Contact [email protected].

The Reutlinger Community is offering many off-site volunteer opportunities, including leading sessions that are recorded or live on Zoom (e.g., programs on yoga, travel, culture, history or science), helping with personal shopping, etc. Click here for the volunteer form, contact [email protected] or call (925) 964-2096.

Congregation Netivot Shalom is organizing check-in calls to congregation members, and errand runs for those that need assistance/are immunocompromised. Click here to fill out the volunteer signup form or call (510) 549-9447 to learn more.

Kehilla Community Synagogue is seeking volunteers for online tutoring and reading with kids, making check-in calls and offering personal time for playing games, singing or studying, and doing grocery/medical supply delivery. Click here to get connected. Kehilla is also taking suggestions about ways to help through this form.

North Bay

Chabad Jewish Center of Novato is organizing volunteers who can deliver food, run errands, pack care packages, make check-in calls and more. Click here for the volunteer form or call (415) 878-6770 for information.

Congregation Kol Shofar is offering food prep and delivery on the first Sunday of the month. Contact Randi Lacther at [email protected].

Congregation Rodef Sholom has a large list of potential volunteer opportunities listed here, including dropping off toiletries, feminine hygiene products, detergent or bags of quarters, toilet paper, cereal, gift cards from Safeway or Target, and gloves and masks. Rodef Sholom also has set up meal deliveries on Mondays and Wednesdays. Sign up here. For information, contact Moji Javid at [email protected]. In addition, on Thursday afternoons, Rodef Sholom is teaming up with Venetia Valley, ExtraFood.org, Marin Dine11, Seed Releaf and Marin Ace to offer a pop-up food/supply distribution center. Volunteer spots are currently filled, but if new slots become available they will be posted here, alongside other opportunities.

Peninsula and South Bay 

Congregation Beth David is organizing check-in calls with congregants, collecting personal protective equipment and looking for blood donors. Click here for the list of opportunities. For information, email Wendy Askenas at [email protected] or Nathan Handelsman at [email protected].

Congregation Kol Emeth is organizing deliveries for donations at multiple locations, mask and fleece-blanket sewing and care package assembly. Click here for information or email Eve Ferber [email protected] or Natalie Telis [email protected].

Peninsula JCC has a comprehensive website listing many volunteer opportunities, from donating blood to animal rescue to making check-in calls. The website also has a list of opportunities with JCC partner organizations, including IsraAID, Mission Hospice, the Jewish Coalition for Literacy, Jewish Family and Children’s Services and Samaritan House. Click here for details.

Multiple locations

Jewish Family & Children’s Services has opportunities at its San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Mateo, San Rafael and Santa Rosa locations for food delivery, making safety calls to seniors and donating to JFCS food banks. Click here for the volunteer application or jfcs.org/volunteer.

IsraAid is looking for volunteers to sort, pack and distribute relief supplies to vulnerable populations in Bay Area locations. Click here to sign up.

The Jewish Community Relations Council has compiled a list of volunteer opportunities in the Bay Area and beyond, including for the American Red Cross, Hands On Bay Area and more. Call (415) 957-1551.

Gabriel Greschler

Gabriel Greschler was a staff writer at J. from 2019 to 2021.