The world is becoming ever more fragile, complex and divided and the endless news cycle bears heavily upon us. Here at The Together Plan, we remain focused, resilient and determined to maintain business as usual in spite of the fact that everything around us is not usual. That brings new challenges of course, but we are good at rising to the challenges.
Our Aid Together Project is run by a team of dedicated volunteers who devote their time and energy to collecting, sorting and packing donations of clothes, shoes, toys, bedding, arts and crafts materials and Judaica which are sent to communities that we support in Belarus. Our aid reaches Jewish and non-Jewish communities, elderly ghetto survivors, people with special needs, children and families living under the poverty line, and some of the neediest in society. Many of the recipients of the aid that we send are known to us personally, and we know how the items we send are of so much value to them. Materially – the impact of receiving good quality shoes for children in a family with three plus children will mean their money can buy food for that family. It’s that simple. Our aid project also ensures we are able to send much-needed resources to Jewish communities to help them to run their programmes. It really is a lifeline in so many ways.
When the war in Ukraine began in February, we reacted fast and contributed to a humanitarian aid drive for fleeing Ukrainians – sending food, medical supplies and hygiene products. We raised funds to support projects in Moldova and Poland, but we did not want to lose sight of the communities in Belarus who we know, the people we support and who value the community programming we provide. It was never a consideration that we would step away from this work, but we knew that the new political climate would bring new challenges.
During Covid and even with the new systems imposed as a result of Brexit – we successfully collected and sent over 20 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Belarus. Now, as we prepare our next consignment – things have become even more complex. As a result of the war in Ukraine, the cost of transportation has spiralled, over doubling in price. With aid needed now more than ever in Eastern Europe, and the importance of recycling and reusing unwanted goods being high on the climate change agenda – it is imperative that we find solutions to the new challenges that we face. To that end, our team in Belarus has has managed to organise a small local fundraising effort with success. Small individual contributions do add up! Vesta Svendsen, our fantastic Vice President of our sister charity Jewish Tapestry Project in the USA, will be fundraising with the Beth Meyer Community in Cary, North Carolina to help raise funds for the next aid consignment and we at The Together Plan will be contributing. It is a real collective effort proving that where there is a will – there really is a way. Through kindness and a little bit of effort, it really is possible to make real change happen and to help the lives of other people. A little bit of individual kindness and effort collectively has a powerful impact.
On November 6th we will be having a Supper Quiz at Finchley Reform Synagogue to help raise money for the next consignment of aid – so do join us! Book here. You bring a dish to share with your table (max 10) – we will provide the rest!
To make a donation in the UK please click here
To make a donation in the USA through Jewish Tapestry Project 501(C)3 please click here