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VBS Helping Hands

05/08/2020 03:34:15 PM

May8

This week we are proud to highlight the VBS Helping Hands program.

Launched in March as a result of the "Safer at Home" order, VBS Helping Hands is a brand new Valley Beth Shalom initiative connecting volunteers to those who are isolated at home and need assistance with vital errands. Over the last several weeks, VBS Helping Hands grew to twenty one dedicated volunteers who delivered everything from Passover goodies to members in senior living, to picking up LA Kosher curbside orders, to making sure prescription medications were received by immuno-compromised members, and everything in between.

The VBS members who have been helped through this program have shared such kind words of gratitude with us. For example, one member, who is at high-risk uses the program to get bi-weekly groceries. After a delivery, she kindly left one of our volunteers a very sweet, handwritten note:“You are such a wonderful person for doing such an important deed for me. I appreciate you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.” 

Our tradition teaches that volunteers get as much out of helping as those who are in need. Our VBS Helping Hands volunteers can attest to that. Upon seeing how quickly her fellow volunteers respond to requests, VBS member Nikki Eigler wrote, “I have to say how inspired I am by everyone! This group jumps in so quickly to help! It is so refreshing during this time.” Another volunteer, VBS member Karen Goss, shared, “It really makes you understand the power of our community!” This program truly encapsulates how this VBS community loves and cares for one another. 

Once a request is received, Nitzan follows up to gather more information, whether that’s a detailed shopping list, or the exact address of a pharmacy, and when they need this errand completed. An email is then sent to all the volunteers asking someone to fill the request. VBS Helping Hands errands are mostly completed within a day when at all possible. One question asked frequently is how reimbursement and exchange of goods is handled with social distancing. Ideally, we’d like orders to be prepaid by the individual over the phone. For some items like basic groceries, the volunteer can call while they are checking out, so the individual has time to write a check and leave it at their front door. When the volunteer arrives outside their home, they leave the goods and receipts at their doorstep, and pick up the check. Many volunteers also take Paypal and Venmo, but we discourage the transfer of bills for safety reasons. VBS as an institution does not involve itself in the transactions.  

If you’d like to participate or have a need, there are several ways to get involved. We created an online form for members to fill out with their errand request, or you can contact Nitzan Barlev, Volunteer Engagement and Community Outreach Coordinator, directly at 818-530-4035 or by email at nbarlev@vbs.org. If you want to volunteer to do some errands, let us know here.

We’re so proud to have VBS Helping Hands as part of the VBS@Home initiative during these tough times. It’s just another way that we stay connected to each other and why community is so important.  

Stay safe and stay healthy!

To learn more about VBS Helping Hands, go to vbs.org/vbsathome/resources

Article written by Nitzan Barlev.

Sat, October 24 2020 6 Cheshvan 5781