JRA's work is fueled by volunteers of many ages and backgrounds - from students to seniors, Jews and non-Jews - all united by a common commitment to help those in need to strengthen our community. Through community service, JRA nourishes body and soul.
Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are invited to join JRA to pack nutritious kosher food and households items during our Monthly Food Distributions, taking place one Sunday a month from 10 AM - 11:30 AM*. Participating in our food packing assembly line, volunteers carry boxes down the line, while other volunteers place food and other items into the box. Make it to the end, grab another box, and do it again! This process repeats until all food boxes are packed and ready to be distributed. This is a great opportunity for individuals, families, groups of friends, or large volunteer groups! Learn more about bringing a group here. Advanced registration is required. See the Calendar page for our full schedule of volunteer opportunities.
JRA Juniors is designed for families with kids under 12 to join us at our warehouse from 9 to 10 AM on Distribution Sundays. This is a great way to get more involved with JRA and to start conversations around food insecurity, mitzvahs (good deeds), and volunteering. The families pack at a kid-friendly pace down our assembly-style lines, packing boxes of pantry staples, produce, and household supplies into boxes using carts. JRA Juniors creates a great atmosphere for the youngest volunteers in our community, welcoming children as young as a few months, all the way up to those transitioning into middle school. Advanced registration is required. See the Calendar page for our full schedule of volunteer opportunities.
Volunteers can support JRA and its recipients by hand-delivering boxes of nutritious kosher food and household items directly to the homes of individuals and families struggling with food insecurity. Volunteers can select a delivery route (or routes!) in advance in a number of different neighborhoods. JRA serves individuals in 90 zip codes throughout Greater Philadelphia. Delivery routes have as few as 1 stop or as many as 15 or 16 stops with an average of around 7 stops. During one of JRA's 3 delivery dates each month, volunteers will arrive at the JRA warehouse between 9 AM and 2 PM to receive their delivery route with instructions and the items to deliver. Advanced registration is required. See the Calendar page for our full schedule of volunteer opportunities.
JRA loves groups! Our packing shifts are really great for groups to participate together while doing something great for our community. The packing shifts include taping boxes, packing Family Friendly bags, toiletry items, and packing boxes of food to be delivered to families in need.
Weekday packing shifts take place from 10 AM - 12 PM on Thursday and Friday (one week a month) and on Sunday mornings during our main Food Distribution at 10 AM. Another great option is to deliver food to our community members. JRA delivers to a number of apartment complexes, so your group members can arrive individually but still deliver together. Delivery takes place during our Sunday Food Distribution from 9 AM - 2 PM and on the Monday and Tuesday that follows from 9 AM - 2 PM. Please refer to our Calendar page for the volunteer schedule.
Sign up your school, camp, youth group, or corporate group by emailing our Volunteer Program Manager, Jenny Rubin, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Passionate about social justice? Want to help those in need? Want a hands-on but socially distant community service experience? Then a JRA B'nai Mitzvah project is right for you!
Through 10 hours of service, students can participate in the following volunteer opportunities:
After completing your project, JRA will honor you with a certificate of completion and a t-shirt!
Ready to get signed-up? Email Jenny at email@example.com.
Caring Cards are handmade cards that volunteers make and will be included in the boxes of food we distribute. The cards are a great way to send a little bit of sunshine into the homes of the individuals we serve, many of who are struggling with isolation. Volunteers can use any supplies they have at home (paper, stickers, markers, crayons, etc.) to make cards with positive messages to send along to JRA recipients. We just ask that you don't use any loose materials that may fall into the box (glitter, we're looking at you). This is a great opportunity for families, individuals, a rainy day activity or even for groups who prefer a no-contact volunteer experience. Mail your completed masterpiece to JRA at:
Jewish Relief Agency
Attn: Jenny Rubin
225 E City Ave, Suite 210
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
JRA was founded in 2000 by then 20-something Marc Erlbaum, a group of his friends, and mentor Rabbi Menachem Schmidt, who were eager to make a direct impact locally by providing food for those who needed it most. JRA began as an organization energized by young professionals.
JRA’s Leadership Academy empowers young adults with heart and talent to take action against hunger in Philadelphia, through understanding our mission and values, enhancing leadership skills, and prioritizing a philanthropic mindset.
Yellow Cappers are JRA ambassadors both within the warehouse and in the community. These long-time volunteers hold crucial jobs in the warehouse during monthly Food Distributions and have committed to attending at least 8 Food Distributions a year. You can identify them by their yellow shirts and caps!
JRA’s Junior Yellow Capper program gives students in grades 8-12 the opportunity to join JRA’s Yellow Cappers. This junior leadership team assists at JRA monthly Food Distributions.
During the pandemic, to help isolated seniors connect with the community, JRA started a Friendly Phone Calls program. The program is designed to pair a warm volunteer with a senior who is experiencing the effects of social isolation for a weekly phone call, anywhere from around 15 - 45 minutes. Each volunteer will be paired with one senior to build a lasting relationship and speak weekly. We are not currently accepting new volunteers for this program.
Please use this form to submit your weekly reports.
Host a collection/drive with your synagogue, church, or organization. JRA can accept the following full-sized, unopened, and not expired items: kosher canned tuna, toilet paper, paper towels, square tissue boxes, laundry detergent, toothpaste, toothbrushes, diapers, and adult incontinence supplies.
Read the story of Rabbi Yisroel and Aliza Silberstein, Chabad emissaries who recently fled Chernihiv, Ukraine, but are still finding ways to assist their community.