by Savanna Quale, Machon 2013 Participant
This summer our 8-week Machon (staff in training) participated in the JTFN program for the second summer. As part of the program they researched several non-profit organizations, planned site visits, volunteered, discussed the Jewish values behind giving, and debated among the grant proposals that they received from various organizations where they wanted their grant money to go (you can read about their summer experience here). Ultimately the Machon decided to award the entire $1000 grant to Project Open Hand Atlanta; below, one Machon reflects on her experience working with Project Open Hand and why she felt passionate about awarding the grant to this organization.
I felt a personal connection to Project Open Hand Atlanta. Growing up, my parents taught me the importance and the power of mitzvot. Every Saturday morning starting from the age of 5 until I was about 13, I volunteered with a local organization similar to Open Hand. My mother and I traveled around town, delivering meals to those who couldn’t afford a decent hot meal, or to those who couldn’t leave their house due to a disability. Over the years, I made close, personal connections to those I was helping. Many of them became role models in my life, and made me appreciate my elders more. In fact, one gentleman added me to his will. He passed away last fall, and to my surprise, he gifted me with a sum of money to go towards my college education. I saw how a simple visit, and a hot, healthy meal effected these people. A kind hello and a conversation could make their day a little brighter. Open Hand is an incredible organization and Coleman’s donation will go far and effect many in the Atlanta area. The impact of Open Hand ranges from sustaining the health of an individual to giving each person a smiling face to greet every day.