Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March 2014 Volunteer of the Month - Ellen Nedell


Congratulations to Ellen Nedell our March 2014 volunteer of the month!

A native New Yorker, Ellen grew up around the hustle and bustle of New York City. After retiring from her position as a broker on Wall Street, Ellen decided she was going to spend some of her free time volunteering for various agencies in New York that fight for causes she believes in. Ellen’s lively activity as a volunteer throughout different organizations in Manhattan such as JASA, UJA and Goddard is what led her to finding out about the opportunities here at Met Council. 

While her time with Met Council has been short thus far, Ellen took it upon herself to frequently volunteer onsite after receiving notice of an opportunity she felt compelled to be a part of. On a consecutive basis, Ellen would perform outreach tasks for Met Council’s Family Violence Passover Distribution coming up on April 6th. Ellen has called over 75 participants in the program to go over opportunities available to them as well as details for the distribution. She has written down food orders and provided reassurance to clients that Met Council’s services would be there to aid them during the expensive time of Passover. 

Ellen has enjoyed her time as a volunteer, commenting that she volunteers “Just to help other people. People who can help other people….one is so fortunate who can do just that.” Her compelling statement echoes the same notion of many Met Council volunteers. It just so happens that Ellen went above and beyond; primarily taking charge of ensuring the outreach project was done in the most efficient way possible.

It’s that selfless attitude that has provided her with such a pleasant experience volunteering. Ellen stated she has felt nothing but gratitude from the clients she’s been in contact with. “I can hear them smile over the phone,” she states. Wonderful words to hear that reinforce the work Ellen is doing is not only appreciated by clients but also by everyone here at Met Council. 

The most rewarding part for Ellen has been realizing how her contributions have reached out to those who need it. Ellen says “You can’t measure it in quantitative terms it’s more about qualitative,” she continues with “Some small joy has now crept into someone’s life.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

5 Unexpected Career Benefits of Volunteering

While on some down time at the desk, I came across this interesting article that posed a somewhat contradictory notion (at least at first). It proposed what volunteers gain from volunteering, instead of what the community receives from volunteerism. When I read the title I winced a bit; whenever I encounter volunteers they're usually volunteering because they want to make an impact in their community - not because they want to spruce up their resume. This article highlights though some pretty interesting points about how volunteering also affects the volunteer - in this case from a career standpoint. Take a read, if anything it offers all the more reason to get involved.  

What comes to mind when you think about volunteering?
Does the thought of spending your free time away from work doing even more work without pay turn you off? Do you feel like there are too many problems in the world and your limited participation won’t move the needle substantially? Or perhaps you don’t feel strongly enough about any cause to be interested in volunteering?
If any of these hold true for you or someone you know, you are likely underestimating the potential benefits of volunteering. There are a myriad of reasons why volunteering could be worth your time, but here are 5 practical reasons why you should be open to volunteering:
1. It Helps Build Your Resume: Volunteering can strengthen your resume in meaningful ways, including:
Building Tangible Skills: Your experiences as a volunteer can help fill gaps in your skill set. For example, if you want a chance to lead a team to show that you are ready for increased responsibility at work, volunteering could be a medium (and a safe environment) through which to do so.
Developing Subject Matter Expertise: In addition to getting experience you don’t have, you can create opportunities to apply your current skills in a different environment. If you’re an accountant at a firm, volunteering to manage the books at a non-profit could show versatility and subject matter expertise as well as further establish your credibility and ability to tackle new accounting challenges.
Gaining Practical Experience: If you are a job seeker with limited opportunities due to your lack of experience, volunteering not only showcases your work ethic but also allows you to build a portfolio of demonstrable results that you can highlight during an interview.
2. It Enhances your Personal Development
Volunteering offers opportunities to stretch yourself and step outside of your familiar and comfortable routine. A lot of non-profit organizations are less structured as their corporate counterparts, leaving you ample opportunities to build on your leadership qualities, hone your ability to work in a team and enhance your self-awareness. These experiences can contribute greatly to your personal development and uncover capabilities you may not have known you had.
3. It Exposes You to Great People Outside Your Network
One simple but very valuable benefit of volunteering is that you get to meet other volunteers. Often times, these are people who have taken vastly different paths to converge at the same organization you are volunteering in, which could be a refreshing break from your existing network of people who may have backgrounds similar to yours. You not only get to work alongside them, you get to learn from them, and them from you. These relationships could result in career and mentorship opportunities, or even friendships!
4. It Allows You To Practice Creativity
Do you have an idea that no one is listening to? Do you want experience doing something your current job doesn’t allow you to do? Stop stifling your creativity. Volunteering can provide an avenue for you to expend this energy and try to solve problems in ingenious ways.
 5. It Enables You To Make an Impact
Undoubtedly one of the greatest benefits of volunteering is the impact that you can make. You would be simply amazed at how much of a difference a couple hours a week of tutoring, mentoring or other volunteering opportunities can make in someone’s life. A lot of jobs don’t give you the opportunity to make significant, lasting, game-changing impact that volunteering at a cause-based organization can.
Are you ready to get started? There are hundreds of great organizations who could use your help. If what you most passionately want to spend your time on doesn’t exist, start it! Your efforts could make a significant difference in the life of others, and in yours. Don’t focus on the fact that you are not getting paid. The experience, if you are deliberate about how you approach it, is worth its weight in gold.

Credit: Utibe Bassey at TRN Magazine

Just a quick reminder, Met Council is holding our annual Family Violence Passover Distribution on April 6th from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. If you're interested in getting involved with this wonderful event please contact us at 212-453-9508 or e-mail us at

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Volunteer and Aid Victims of Domestic Violence!

Met Council is proud to be holding their annual Passover Distribution at the Boro Park Y this year on Sunday April 6th. After the huge success of last year's distribution, we're excited to make this year's event even better.

  On Sunday, April 6th, volunteers will be distributing food packages to families that are victims of domestic violence onsite. Met Council established the Family Violence Program in 1995 to address the increasing awareness of the problem of domestic violence in the metropolitan area. Through our services, clients receive immediate assistance during the acute crisis and ongoing assistance as they move toward family stability. The Family Violence Program is able to provide culturally specialized services in addition to services catering to the family violence population.

The event will ensure that all families, no matter what background, have the ability to celebrate Passover.

If you'd like to volunteer for this event please e-mail us at or call 212-453-9508.

Date: April 6th, 2014
Time: 9:00 - 12:30 and then 1:00 - 3:00 (There are two separate shifts for volunteers. The first shift entails packaging the food items into boxes and the second involves the distribution of food items as clients arrive in the afternoon.)
Location: Boro Park Y - 4912 14th Ave Brooklyn, NY 11219

We'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

We Made The News! Purim Food Packaging Article

The Purim holiday which took place this past weekend was a lot more festive for hundreds of people in Brooklyn, thanks to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which distributed food packages to families in Flatbush, Midwood, Marine Park and Borough Park as part of its Kosher Food Network.
Volunteers from the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush and the Jewish Community Council of Far Rockaway delivered 500 two-person meals to homes on Friday, March 14, in time for the Jewish festival.
The food giveaway allowed residents to partake in holiday festivities despite the often prohibitive costs of kosher food, organizers said. The meal included traditional staples such as challah, stuffed cabbage, vegetable soup, chicken, and potato kugel.
“Purim is a time for celebration and thanks to a generous Met Council supporter, 1,000 food insecure New Yorkers will be able to join the Jewish community in marking the occasion with joy and dignity,” Metropolitan Council CEO and Executive Director David M. Frankel said prior to the food distribution.
“There are a half a million poor and near poor Jewish New Yorkers who struggle to feed their family every day. These 1,000 meals will allow our clients to observe the holiday with a traditional and nutritious meal that otherwise would have been price prohibitive. Many of our clients are in a unique need because of the additional expense of kosher food: on average a kosher meal is 30 percent more expensive,” Frankel said.
Purim is one of the most joyous holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination. On Purim it is customary to give charity to those in need and to deliver gifts of food to neighbors.
The Purim meal packages were part of Metropolitan Council’s year-round Kosher Food Network, a project that provides a holistic care program of food packages, emergency food vouchers and prepared meals to supplement food to low-income households throughout New York. 
The Metropolitan Council also fights poverty throughout the year by providing $460,975 in Food Gift Cards to needy families and by delivering 9,360 meals to home-bound seniors.
In anticipation of Jewish holidays, the council increases the amount of food distributed and food cards delivered, officials said.
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Friday, March 14, 2014

Purim Food Packaging 2014

This Thursday, at Met Council’s Food Pantry Warehouse in Canarsie, Brooklyn, volunteers came together and packaged over 500 meals that will be delivered on Friday, March 14th to Jewish families all over Brooklyn. An anonymous contributor donated the food to Met Council in order to ensure everyone celebrated the holiday Purim.

News reporters arrived to document the amazing effort being put forth by all those onsite in order to make this event a memorable one. Met Council Executive Director, David Frankel, was present to interact with volunteers and also speak on behalf of why it’s so important Met Council continues its fight against poverty.

Check out the link below in order to read more about the story and to watch our volunteers talk about how rewarding the experience was!

Volunteers prepare food donations for Purim at Met Council Food Pantry in Canarsie

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 2014 Volunteer of the Month- Scott Rader!

Congratulations to Scott Rader, our February 2014 Volunteer of the Month!

Over the past year and a half, Scott Rader has become an active MVP member and volunteer with Met Council and continues to impress our staff with his dedication. We’ve nominated Scott because of his commitment to our mission, his active participation and enthusiasm for our MVP group, and the positive energy he shares with his fellow MVPs and in giving back to our low-income seniors.

Scott is a young, distinguished lawyer at Mintz Levin where he practices white collar defense and commercial  litigation. With his little free time he plays tennis, trains for his upcoming sprint triathlon, and volunteers. He first came to Met Council a little over a year and a half ago with the introduction of a coworker and joined our group of motivated young professionals, called MVP. Scott has really enjoyed the opportunity to build relationships with like minded individuals and has described MVP as “a great group of generous and selfless people with great potential for growth.” He also receives great support from colleagues and has generously arranged the use of his workplace on several occasions to host MVP meetings.

For Scott, the most rewarding aspect of volunteering and MVP has been the opportunity to meet new people and enhance someone’s day. He has spearheaded the initiative to create an ongoing volunteer “Friendly Visiting” event at our low-income senior housing site to develop lasting relationships with residents. It is a valuable program that can “span the gap between generations and alleviate isolation.” He firmly believes in the importance of raising awareness on the growing issue of poverty and the value in meeting and working with Met Council clients.

For all this, we would like to showcase our appreciation for Scott and his passion to share and grow our base of supporters and volunteers. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Get Involved- Take Action- Become a Volunteer Leader!

Do you find yourself taking the lead with your coworkers and classmates on projects? 
Are you looking for a consistent Sunday volunteer opportunity? 
Do you have contagious positive energy?
Are you very responsible but easy going and personable?

If you said yes to these questions, you could be our next Volunteer Leader!

Demonstrate your commitment and dedication to fighting poverty in NYC with Met Council by taking the step to become one of our select Volunteer Leaders. 

Leaders help us to expand capacity by running our weekly Sunday Senior Lunch Program at the Spitzer Residence.  They are role models and change-makers, spreading the word and enthusiasm for volunteerism and commitment to the community. 

A leader's responsibilities include leading up to two Sunday programs each month at our senior residence. They give the volunteer orientation, receive the catering order, direct volunteers' activities, socialize, and act as a representative for Met Council.

Volunteer Leaders are valuable to us and each year, they receive special awards at our annual Volunteer Recognition event and often show up on our Volunteer of the Month page too!

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact with the subject line: VOLUNTEER LEADER