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Community Calling Outreach Project

06/12/2020 09:19:41 AM

Jun12

This week we are proud to highlight the VBS Community Calling Outreach Project.

Launched in March as a result of the “Safer at Home” order, the VBS Community Calling Outreach Project is an important initiative to keep our members connected through personal calls and outreach led by our staff and a dedicated group of volunteers. Rabbi Ed Feinstein initiated the project to ensure we connected with our most vulnerable members who could no longer come into our building, are living alone or may not be able to connect with us through our VBS @ Home virtual programming. The initiative quickly expanded to reach every single member of our community with one simple goal in mind: to let everyone know VBS is here to support and care for them. Though VBS has made similar efforts in the face of other disasters, such as calls to members in areas affected by the wildfires last fall, this project has reached every member of our community - multiple times! The fifth round of calls has now been completed, engaging over 100 volunteers and 20 staff members.

Volunteers, Board Members and staff are given a contact list of approximately 20 members to call, along with a set of instructions and a calling script to promote VBS programs, initiatives and to provide resources. VBS School leadership and volunteer parents have been directing reaching out to school families, leaving this project total at about 1,000 member households.

The project has been successful in connecting congregants and staff with vital information. For instance, we received information about three of our members in assisted living in need of access to services for Passover. The volunteers informed Susan Rubin, our Caring Connection Director, and Marlene Edenzon, Development Coordinator, about this urgent need, and looped in Bill Green, Administrative VP on the Synagogue Board who handles technology issues for our Hazak senior program. Bill called each of the women to offer his help. He shares, “the conversations were unbelievably rewarding. I was able to connect each of them to the audio for the seder and other programs.” One woman cried tears of joy and relief after getting connected to the seder. This experience led to the creation of a “no-computer” list of VBS members who now receive hard copies of our upcoming programs in the mail, and calls with updates on how to connect to the latest VBS @ Home programs by phone.

The Community Calling Outreach Project enables us to reach the most vulnerable and support their needs, creating a sense of belonging and community. While the goal is to ensure that VBS members and isolated individuals are staying connected, there are many benefits to the volunteers themselves. Volunteers have deeply enjoyed reaching out to fellow members and getting to know more people in the community. Mike Waterman says, “This is VBS at its best .... reaching out to our members to show the value and importance of belonging to, and supporting, our community.” Although we may not be able to congregate together, we are still a congregation.

If you would like to get involved, reach out to Marlene Edenzon at medenzon@vbs.org. Volunteers are asked to have some computer knowledge and be comfortable with speaking over the phone. 

Article written by Nitzan Barlev.

Sat, October 24 2020 6 Cheshvan 5781