Awareness-raiser or Fundraiser
The Sunday after Passover, the Tiyul: Shabbat B’yachad 7th grade class set-up and ran a hunger fundraiser for an organization called Action Against Hunger. But the point of their fundraiser was not only to raise funds but also to raise consciousness. This 7th grade class has spent the year working on a tikkun olam project centered on the issue of hunger. They have learned that tikkun olam does not just take the form of direct service, but also advocacy, activism, and philanthropy.
For the few weeks before their fundraiser was scheduled to be held, the 7th graders worked on creating a plan on how to both raise money for Action Against Hunger but also to raise our community’s awareness about global hunger and about the specific work with malnutrition that Action Against Hunger does. They decided the best plan would be to create a large poster to attract people to their table and to inform those just glancing at it. They created a pamphlet to pass out to those who were more interested. They also wrote out a script for each of them to use when speaking to congregants about their mission. Most importantly, they decided to hand out with each item sold at their bake sale, a small note informing the purchaser what his/her donation would be going towards.
Hello. We are the TSBY 7th graders and we are doing a group mitzvah project. We are working to reduce hunger all around the world. We are collecting donation today for Action Against Hunger. Action Against Hunger is an organization that fights malnutrition, lack of water, and food insecurity around the world.
The Saturday before the bake sale, the 7th graders got together to bake challah and create challah french toast kits to sell at their bake sale. They figured that Sunday being the first day after Passover many people would be interested in buying yummy bread-filled snacks
On the Sunday of the bake sale, the 7th graders had their tables all set and were ready to speak to as many congregants as possible to raise their awareness of the global hunger issue.
However, they learned that Sunday morning that sometimes, even the best laid plans must change. Congregants were clearly impressed and appreciative of their efforts, but many were happy to donate money and leave rather than listen to the 7th grade script. Some people walked by their table without giving them a second glance. Others lingered and learned, but it was challenging to gauge how much awareness was raised.
During our debrief and evaluation afterwards, our students struggled to understand the lobby interactions. Their goal was not just to raise money; their goal was to raise awareness of the greater issue of hunger in the world. How might they communicate their message more effectively? Did the bake sale help or hurt their effort? How might they continue this work in the future?
In the end, the students raised over $200 for Action Against Hunger and learned some good lessons about the difficulties of social justice work. We’re proud of them and of their year-long commitment to addressing the issue of hunger.