For years, BookMates, a program of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Southern New Jersey, has offered children in disadvantaged communities like Camden the opportunity to engage with and develop a love for literature in warm, one-on-one settings. BookMates volunteers visit schools for read-alouds and quality time with over 600 students yearly, setting the foundation for academic success.
With the shutdown of schools and social distancing measures put in place, these impactful visits could no longer continue. Undeterred, BookMates co-founder Judy Nadell took to technology, recording read-alouds in her home to be shown through school websites, on YouTube, and on the BookMates web page.
With her business, Wow Custom Apparel, Cherry Hill resident Traci Miller was busy making customized bar- and bat-mitzvah sweatshirts and favors before the onset of coronavirus. Now, she said, the business “dead-ended.” While considering the next step, the idea came to Miller to begin customizing facemasks with catchy phrases. Her first batch sold quickly, and instead of holding onto the proceeds for the business, Miller donated them to The Betsy and Peter Fischer Food Pantry run by Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JFCS), an agency of the Jewish Federation.