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Jewish Journal

Chances to Lend a Hand

by Solange Borna

May 31, 2001 | 8:00 pm

Reading Is Fundamental

It's accepted wisdom that when children read, they develop wider vocabularies, score higher on intelligence tests and display more enthusiasm to pursue higher education. But many children don't have access to books, even at school.

School libraries are notorious for being inadequately staffed. Many of them are dark, unwelcoming spaces in overcrowded schools. Some are open only in the mornings, while others don't have the personnel to open at all. Volunteers are needed to fill libraries with more employees and helpers, people who would create activities and programs like story times and reading contests and help students find books and use computers.

You can help by participating in the Light Up a Library program at Tarzana Street Elementary School. Volunteers are needed to work in the library when the paid staff members are absent, approximately once a week. With the help of volunteers, a school library can be a fondly remembered place where the seeds of success are sown.

To volunteer for the Light Up a Library program or for more information, call (323) 651-2930.

Feed the World

Among the thousands of Americans who are dealing with homelessness, unemployment and HIV/AIDS, many live with hunger as well. But with organizations like SOVA Kosher Food Pantry, sponsored by the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles, fewer people do have to go without food. SOVA serves as a free grocery store for people who can't pay for food at the market or who are homebound and can't get to the market. SOVA also enlists case managers to help clients get their lives back on track. The program is composed solely of volunteers, who serve as the backbone of the organization. About 25 of them work at the Tarzana branch of SOVA, either packing groceries or gathering information from the clients. Many of the helpers are dedicated enough to work three shifts a week. However, new volunteers are always welcome.

To volunteer at SOVA or for more information, call (310) 828-0469.

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