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Nadia Katzir

Volunteering in Israel: NGOs that will need help this Passover

Image by pch.vector on Freepik
Image by pch.vector on Freepik

When I just arrived in Israel, I did not have friends or any strong social network. My social life was boring. I came up with a plan to meet new people through volunteering. I also thought serving the local community would help to spend my free time until I was ready to work full-time. 

So I went to the local elderly people’s homes in Haifa and offered to do art classes with them. You know, old people always have plenty of free time and appreciate any company. These meetings filled my early days in Israel with meaning and purpose. Also, volunteering helped me to understand the local mentality and speak Hebrew. To my big surprise, later the volunteering experience helped me to land my first full-time job at a local NGO in Israel. I worked for an operation office of one of the leading old charity organizations — Latet. 

I have collected below a list of different NGOs around Israel that regularly need volunteers.  You can choose an organization which is close to your values and interests. I hope you can also meet new friends, make strong connections and gain valuable experiences!

Latet

Latet is the largest NGO combating poverty and food insecurity in Israel. It operates the leading national food bank and runs impactful aid programs to help underserved families, youth at risk and Holocaust survivors. Latet’s head office is located in Tel Aviv and it has regional coordinators in most of the areas of Israel. The organization mainly needs volunteers during food distribution campaigns during national holidays.

To become a volunteer, fill in the form here.

Photo: https://www.latet.org.il/

Nevet

Nevet is the independent nonprofit charity that helps to address Israeli schoolchildren’s malnutrition issues by providing breakfast sandwiches to children from disadvantaged homes. Nevet provides 1.3 million breakfasts – sandwiches each year. Children pick them up when they arrive in school and usually eat them during their 10 a.m. break.

The organization mainly needs volunteers to supervise the local schools – participants of the Nevet’s program. Each volunteer will adopt a school that he or she will be responsible for over the course of the year. Once a month, they will come to the school and observe the staff preparing the sandwiches and ensure it is done according to the organization’s guidelines.

To become a volunteer, fill in the form here.

Photo: https://www.nevet.org/en/home/

ESRA

ESRA is Israel’s largest English-speaking community network committed to the successful integration of olim, and bridging equity gaps in Israeli society. The organization provides services and activities suited to all ages and stages of the aliya process, including personal support, networking activities, volunteering opportunities, social and cultural events, and special interest groups. English-speaking olim take part in these projects as volunteers. This serves to enhance their integration into Israel while feeling a useful and contributing members of society. The organization has its regional coordinators in the biggest cities of Israel.

As ESRA volunteer you can engage in exciting activities: help non-native-speaking English teachers enhance their English oral proficiency; coordinate and assist the after-school centres for children at risk aged 6-10; assist social groups for people with disabilities; edit or contribute writings for ESRA magazine.

Check all the volunteering opportunities here.

Photo: Photo: https://www.esra.org.il/

The Lone Soldier Center

A group of former lone soldiers found the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin. The organization is the first and only organization solely dedicated to meeting the physical and social needs of lone soldiers. It assists lone soldiers before, during and after their army service by providing them food, laundry, necessities, equipment, advice, social events and many more. The organization mainly needs volunteers living in Jerusalem, Beer Sheva (South) and Tel Aviv for different activities such as host family, cooking and baking food, fundraising activities. The center needs foreign language speakers too.

To become a volunteer, sign up here. 

Photo: https://www.facebook.com/lonesoldiercenter

OneDay Social Volunteering

OneDay is a nonprofit which was established in 2016 to redefine and change the field of social volunteering for young adults in Israel. The organization set up a network which enables young adults to volunteer on a one-off basis in a way that is meaningful and without long-term commitment. The NGO’s volunteering activities include different activities such as: repairing people’s homes, clubs, volunteering in schools for children with special needs, in frameworks for senior citizens, projects that help animals, frameworks for people with disabilities, senior citizens’ homes, food banks, etc. Most activities are social by nature (with groups of at least ten participants) and suitable for those who can dedicate their time only for “One Day”.

To become a volunteer, check the upcoming events here.

Photo: https://www.facebook.com/OneDaySV

The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel (SPCA Israel)

The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel was founded in 1927. It runs programs to promote animal welfare and animal rights by doing a number of services: sheltering abandoned animals and finding them adoptive homes, a veterinary clinic, and boarding kennels for pets. SPCA also runs educational activities for groups of all ages and all sectors. The Society is also active at the Parliamentary level, lobbying the laws that promote animal welfare.

They need the volunteers to look after the animals (dog walkers) in their shelters in Tel Aviv.

Get more information about the volunteering opportunities here.

Photo: https://www.facebook.com/SPCAIsraelonline/

 ASSAF

ASSAF (Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel) is an Israeli NGO that helps asylum seekers in Israel to ensure their rights to live in security, dignity, inclusion and equality, according to the basic principles of Israeli and international law. The organization supports policies that advance human and refugee rights, and produce positive and sustainable change by working with state authorities, courts and the Israeli public. It also assists asylum seekers through Advocacy and Support Center and provides psychosocial services. Their beneficiaries are minors, survivors of torture, the sick, people with disabilities, single parents and vulnerable women.

The volunteers can help at the Youth Club, Psychosocial Aid and Support center, and advocacy activities in various fields, such as translations, writing, editing and proofreading, photography and graphic design.

Check more information and sign up here. 

Photo: https://www.facebook.com/assafrefugees

If you know other similar NGOs that regularly need volunteers comment below.

About the Author
Nadia Katzir is a young woman from Russia - Siberia, who came to live in Israel and loves it. As someone, who chose to be in Israel not as a returning Jew, she could not count on the extended family network, the institutional help of absorption or Jewish agencies. Nadia made her way based on the social connections found, mainly through her networking and social media. She writes about people, who inspire immigrants, create art, communities, opportunities and her life in Israel. Nadia worked in different international cooperation, education and NGO promoting projects in Russia and Israel.
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