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Local Jewish group Tikkun Ha-Ir builds bridges with Holiday Gifts program

Posted at 8:25 AM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 09:25:01-05

A local Jewish group that encourages community service and giving back will assist more than 500 people through 12 area non-profit organizations this holiday season.

As part of its annual Holiday Gifts Program, Tikkun Ha-Ir collected thousands of items like clothing, toys, and books at donation sites across Southeast Wisconsin over the last month.

Volunteers spent several days sorting the donations, before devoting two more days to delivering the gifts to: Cathedral Center and Friendship House, Aurora Walkers, Children's Outing Association, Casa Maria, Milwaukee Rescue Mission, Street Angels, Joy House, Meta House, Point Refugees, Repairers of the Breach, Jewish Community Food Pantry, and Nia Imani.

Sami Stein Avner, the Executive Director of Tikkun Ha-Ir, said her group reached out to the non-profits ahead of time to find out what they needed.

For example, the Children's Outing Association requested athletic gear.

Street Angels received care packages/bags containing socks, granola bars, blankets, and batteries, to hand out to people who are homeless.

Stein Avner said the whole purpose of the program is to encourage kindness and bridge-building among communities.

"We have some big divides in this town," she said. "This is one way we can bring each other closer together."

"For the Jewish community, this idea of being the light and sharing the light to help bring everybody up out of the darkness, is a beautiful concept that we do with Hanukkah and that the broader community does with Christmas lights everywhere," Stein Avner said. "It's this idea that light isn't just a physical thing in what's glowing, but it's what's glowing in your heart."