Together we can and will make a difference in the world to make it a better place.

When a tragedy happens, some people try to figure out why it happened, some start arguing about the timeline of the events, some people are looking for the ones responsible for it and only a few take action. Jookender is proud to be part of the global response to the crisis happening currently in Ukraine. The Jookender community is wide and broad; we come from different backgrounds and different countries, with different views and cultural ties, but we always unite in our mutual desire to help.

The food and clothing drive for Ukrainian orphans that we recently organized (we were able to ship 85 boxes with a total weight of 3,459 pounds) is no different—it proves that we strongly believe in our community, in our ability to make a difference, in each other.

Not just our community, but a lot of people from various countries are organizing all sorts of fundraisers and drives to help those affected by the horrific events unfolding in Ukraine, and this is truly heart-warming. It gives us hope that love, understanding and lending a hand to those in desperate need will still prevail no matter what. Like many others, Jookender was considering a few fundraising options, making sure we found a way to make the most impact, and settled on helping the kids’ orphanage relocation center in Uzhgorod. This is a location where kids from different orphanages from all over the country are being evacuated to.

We could not help but be amazed by our passionate volunteers, who worked all day sorting, folding, packing and putting together numerous boxes for the most vulnerable of all—kids. Jookender is grateful to many organizations and individuals who donated money to make the shipments of all the goods. And we are beyond grateful and proud of our volunteers: primarily our young adults and teenagers. They came willing to help the kids, same as them, across the globe. They did not choose to stay away; they joined their parents and friends and made a huge contribution to the common cause.

All of what is happening right now in the world, all of the dreadful and shocking events that are unfolding in the international arena make us realize how valuable and vulnerable our life is. Therefore, it unites us even more. We all feel that our joint efforts make important and lasting contributions to the lives of others and the well-being of the world.

We all feel so honored to be part of Jookender now more than ever. Recently I came across a saying that resonated strongly with me—I will try to render it accurately: It is important to teach your kid not to step on a caterpillar; it is as important for a kid as it is for a caterpillar. I cannot agree more. How else can we show our kids how to be honest, loving, passionate and kind-hearted human beings? We should not settle for less than that. And we can only lead by our own example.

Our society is changing and evolving all the time; new trends appear and technology is conquering us all by bringing a lot of joy but also a lot of issues. Values and priorities seem to shift and change. And it becomes harder and harder to bring up kids in the world like that. And this is why all of the Jookender community members unite and support each other each and every day. Young adults and teenagers collaborate and work together on different projects that help our society and give back to our communities. It is a relief to know that you have a safe space you can meet, both in-person and virtually, and share your views, dreams and desires without being misunderstood; the place where you are always encouraged and supported and where you can support others as well.

Lastly, we are glad that all Jookender packages have already reached their destination in Uzhgorod safely, but we will not stop there. Jookender already ran another fundraising drive to support Ukrainian families/refugees with children in the western Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi, and we were able to ship 25 boxes with a total weight of 1,335 pounds. After our packages arrived in Uzhgorod, we found out the whole city is on the brink of hunger, so we sent out 26 more boxes with food provisions.

We are always eager to accept all the support we can get both monetarily and by volunteering. Please consider donating to our cause. Please also join us for our next fundraising event on May 14. We’ll have New York City teens from B’Yachad Leadership Institute join the fundraiser as volunteers. We are also offering for local teens to run food drives at school in exchange for earning community service hours.

We hope that kids will be taking an active part in this fundraiser as well. One of the children’s organizations of MetroWest that is happy to participate in this fundraiser is Theater on the Roof. They are willing to donate all the proceeds from their young children’s performance of “Thumbelina,” which will take place at their theater in Needham on April 17.

We welcome anyone who feels like we share their values to become part of our family. Together we can and will make a difference in the world to make it a better place!

All Jookender programs are supported by The Jewish Federations of North America, with generous funding from the Genesis Philanthropy Group and powered by CJP Teen and Young Adults Community Impact Grants.