Anna Keilly is SSTY’s SAVP, and a member of NFTY-PAR.
Being a part of the NFTY-PAR community has affected me in many different ways. I have made life-long friendships, learned many Jewish values, including helping others that are less fortunate. However, the most important part to me is the social action component. Over the weekend of January 16th-18th, WINSTY was held at my temple, Congregation Shaarai Shomayim in Lancaster, PA. Over the weekend PARticipants from all across Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware, helped improve my community while having a fun time with friends. It was inspiring for me to see my fellow PARites learn and grow from projects they participated in throughout the Lancaster community.
As part of the weekend, PARticipants and congregants of Shaarai Shomayim collected gently used winter clothing, as well as, new socks, underwear and undershirts to donate to the Lancaster County Council of Churches. Here volunteers and staff will organize, package and distribute them to those who need these items.
While dropping off the clothing, I saw many different items the Council has to offer, but the volunteers also explained that they need children’s and men’s items. While I could do nothing to help at the time, it occurred to me that with all the different clothing, come many different needs. While we may see it as just cleaning out our closets, there are people throughout all communities that need our “old stuff”. With just one donation, we can change someone’s life by giving them something to protect them from the harsh winter weather.
The amount of clothing donated, as well as our 768 hours of community service, Lancaster has been greatly impacted even if you cannot see it directly. The clothing that was donated today will help shield people from sickness in the winter, and give them something to call their own. As a community, NFTY-PAR has made a huge difference in Lancaster.