A post from one of our inspiring and dedicated volunteers, Julie Weiner!
Peanut Butter & Julie: My Experience with One Sandwich at a Time
On September 24th, 2016, I will officially become a Bat Mitzvah. In Judaism, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah marks an important moment as one transforms from a child to an adult. This transition is celebrated with readings from the Torah, a sacred and meaningful text that tells the biblical history of the Jewish people.
Part of becoming a Bat Mitzvah includes performing an act of tzedakah - the giving of oneself to others as an act of charity through community service, also known as a mitzvah project. The word mitzvah means commandment in English. Many people see commandments solely as rules that one must follow. However, in Judaism, following the commandments means performing good deeds and acts of selflessness. In the Torah, God instructs the Jews a countless number of times to always follow the commandments. Such commandments include honoring your parents, being honest, and helping those in need.
When trying to decide on a mitzvah project that would mean something to me, I remembered a time right after Hurricane Sandy when my mom, my brother and I volunteered to make sandwiches for those affected by the tragedy. We must have made 500 sandwiches that day, and we all felt really good about the difference we had made. After all, we had just fed 500 hungry individuals.
This memory gave me an idea. I grabbed my laptop and searched for “sandwich making nyc” on Google. Google pointed me to One Sandwich at a Time. I clicked on the website and sent an inquiry through the “contact” page. I told OSAAT that I wanted to help the organization for my mitzvah project, and I got a heartwarming response back from Erin Dinan, OSAAT’s creator and founder. She was so sweet and so excited that I wanted to be a part of OSAAT. She emailed me the details of the next event and I marked it down my calendar.
On August 31st, my mom and I walked into the community room at The Lee, a housing facility on the Lower East Side of New York City for low-income and homeless adults. We were immediately welcomed by Erin, Stephanie and other volunteers and staff of OSAAT. I was very excited to meet Erin. She is such a role model and so appreciative! I was so grateful to be a part of such a wonderful organization that only wants to help others.
Erin and her team had everything very well organized with plenty of peanut butter, jelly and loaves of bread. We put on our gloves and aprons and that day, our group of volunteers made 1,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, feeding exactly 1,000 hungry people. It was amazing to see sandwiches stack up as the stack of bread loaves disappeared!
I am definitely going continue to work with OSAAT and help out in any way that I can. It felt amazing to see that in such a short time and with such minimal effort, we had made 1,000 others happy - one sandwich at a time.
- Julie Weiner, 13