Volunteer Opportunities

Hello TAI Friends,
 
I wanted to share some exciting news with you!  TAI and the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass have been sponsoring a young Ukrainian man since June 2022.   He and his family lived close to Kharkiv before the war and it is not safe for them to return as their town has been decimated and is very close to the border.  Our sponsee’s mother and sister finally arrived in Lexington last Wednesday.  They are living with their son/brother and are so happy to be reunited.  Mother and sister were living in Italy for a while, but Europe is flooded with Ukrainians right now and their work prospects there were very limited. 
 
The young man we initially sponsored is trained in psychology and has been continuing to see clients for free online as he waits for his employment authorization.  His English is good and it is easy to communicate with him.  His mother does not speak English yet, but she does speak Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, and some Italian.  For the last year, she too has been studying psychology, training online to become a trauma-informed therapist.  She is eager to do volunteer work, if she can find it, until she too receives her work authorization.  Our sponsee’s sister is a 17 year old girl who already has her high school degree and has won contests in dancing and singing in Ukraine.  She is also interested in design.  She knows a little bit of English, but not enough to be employable or go to college yet.
 
This is a truly charming family that it is a pleasure to interact with.  I personally had fun talking to the mother in my rusty half Italian/half Spanish and we understood enough to communicate with each other.  Google Translate now has a feature where you can talk in English and it will say the words in Ukrainian.  When it was too difficult to understand each other in Italian, this came in very handy and I encourage anyone who wants to meet with them to use Google Translate.
 
I am looking for volunteers to bring them food for the next 3-4 weeks, until their SNAP benefits start (SNAP is what used to be food stamps).  If you are interested in taking them to the Kroger on Richmond Road to shop this weekend, please text me at 859-229-5790 or email me at dominiqueolbert@gmail.com.  The TAI Social Action Committee can reimburse you for this expense.  Mom and sister will also probably need to get winter boots, and a puffer coat for winter, so if you are interested in taking them shopping at a shoe store, please let me know!
 
They have all the furniture they need except for a full size box spring.  If you have one to donate, please contact me.  If you are interested in donating to their cause, please make a donation to the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass at https://www.jewishlexington.org/campaigns/ukrainian-families-in-lexington/.  
 
Dominique Olbert
TAI Social Action Committee Chair
 
 
Other Ways to Support Ukraine:
 
In response to the invasion of Ukraine, Joint Distribution Committee has launched an emergency campaign to respond to spiking humanitarian needs among the nearly 40,000 poor Jews it supports in 1,000 locations around the country. JDC is already providing extra essentials like food and medicine to its clients and has activated its emergency hotlines, volunteer corps, and network of Hesed social service centers to address emerging needs as events unfold. The organization is also preparing to handle mass displacement, and deploy psychosocial support and increased aid to the most vulnerable. Donations to these efforts can be made at https://jdc.org/Ukraine
 
The World Union for Progressive Judaism also has launched a Ukraine Crisis Fund to support the Jewish community there. If you would like to make a donation, click here.
 


 
AFGHAN FAMILY JEWISH COMMUNITY
CO-SPONSORSHIP
Dear TAI Family,
 
In a beautiful display of like-minded thinking and partnership, TAI, OZS, and the Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass all individually decided on the same day to co-sponsor an Afghan family resettling in Fayette County. Our community is one that understands all too well what it’s like to flee a country that is too dangerous to live in. We believe in the importance of not just being bystanders, but of welcoming those who are in urgent need, and who have, moreover, been our allies.  With this in mind, TAI, OZS, and Federation are partnering to help co-sponsor an Afghan family with Kentucky Refugees Ministries (KRM).
 
If you are interested in helping our family by volunteering, donating furniture/household goods and/or food, please text (859-229-5790) or email Dominique Olbert. Dominique is coordinating the TAI side of the co-sponsorship and can help you get started.
 
Thank you in advance for supporting our Afghan friends,
 
Sincerely,
 
Dominique Olbert                                                   Rick Clewett
Vice-Chair, Social Action Committee                     Chair, TAI Social Action Committee
 
To support the effort financially please send a check to JFB at their new address: 124 N. Ashland Drive, Lexington, KY 40502; or donate online here.


Ways to Contribute in the Lexington Community

Thank you to all of you who contributed and volunteered during the COVID-19 Crisis. As we transition back to “normal life”, there is still much that can be done to help others. Here are some suggestions:
 
1. The Bluegrass Community Foundation raises funds for local needs. Click here to donate.
 
2. Donate Blood
  • Kentucky Blood Center – Click here for more info or call 800-775-2522. 
  • The Red Cross – Click here to schedule a donation time.

3. Volunteer to pack and deliver meals for Meals on Wheels

4. Volunteer with Glean Kentucky, a Lexington based non-profit serving as the vital link between food waste and food insecurity. Watch this video and if you think you’d like to help, sign up to be a volunteer.

5. The Community Response Coalition of Kentucky (CRCKY), an entirely volunteer-run organization, helps provide community support to families negatively impacted by immigration enforcement. They provide COVID-19 assistance; rent and utilities assistance to people with life-threatening illness; community resources; legal services; and ICE detention services.

Volunteers are needed in the following positions:
– Intake Workers
– Food delivery personnel
– Board members
– Bookkeeping
– Social media coordinators
– Volunteers to table at community events
– PR material translators (includes flyers, social media, etc.)​

To get involved, visit their volunteer page.

6. Please consider donating to the following organizations as they work to help those overcome food and medical insecurity:
God’s Pantry
MAZON
Commonwealth Forgiveness Project (medical debt relief)

7.  Provide rides – ITNBluegrass, dignified transportation for seniors, seek generous, kind individuals to step forward to volunteer to drive. Candidates must be 23-79 years of age with good driving records. To find out more, visit www.itnbluegrass.org or call Executive Director Jennifer Gripshover at 859-421-0705.
 
Please note that TAI urges congregants who are at risk for contracting the COVID-19 virus to consult with their doctors about whether these opportunities are recommended.