Even before the storms hit this month, the local Jewish community was facing urgent appeals for help.
Those pleas for assistance “were already phenomenal,” said Andy Frank, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks.
He cited among other things the growing cohort of those without jobs or under-employed, the increasing number of people turning to the Kosher Food Pantry for help, and families seeking camp scholarships.
Greenwood House nursing home, one of the federation’s partner agencies, has faced a sharp drop in Medicaid reimbursement.
Because of the bad weather, the largest fund-raiser dinner of the year had to be canceled, making the issue even more urgent.
In response, the federation will hold its annual Super Sunday phonathon on Dec. 2, one week earlier than originally planned, at Rider University in Lawrenceville. At least 80 volunteers will work the phones, raising money and awareness for the umbrella philanthropy’s annual campaign.
“We needed to act as expeditiously as possible,” Frank said. By moving the event, its fund-raising potential will kick in as early as possible, and, unlike the original date of Dec. 9, “it won’t conflict with Hanukka or cut into holiday season family time.”
Super Sunday will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In prior years, the event included an array of activities, including lectures and entertainment. This time, while still celebrating the community and offering a time and place to come together, the focus is sharp and clear — on raising funds to service those in need.
All ages are welcome. Young children will be able to help as runners carrying pledge forms from callers to those doing the tallying, and supporting the grownups in various ways.
“It’s a time of the year when people are attuned to charity,” Frank said, “and we’re hoping that people will respond as generously as they possibly can.”
Last year’s Super Sunday brought in $175,000. This year organizers are shooting high, hoping to bring in $250,000.
Campaign vice president Karen Anderson, in an e-mail to NJJN, wrote, “Super Sunday is a special day designated for communal charity. We traditionally reach out to our community and ask for their continued support. This year is especially compelling. We all watched on the news, and for many of us just out our windows, the devastation wrought by last week’s superstorm.”
The federation and its agencies lent “a helping and comforting hand” to those affected by the storm, said Anderson. “We served as both first responder and as endurance responder. As the rebuilding work extends over the coming weeks and months, our system will continue to be there for those in need.”
Anderson sent out a call, asking community members on Super Sunday to “step up and be there for one another in not only these trying times, but every day.”
Those interested in serving as a Super Sunday volunteer should contact the federation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-219-0555.