Rabbi Ron Symons on May 28, 2020
It could be you! That’s right. Don’t look to the right or the left, in front of you or behind you for someone else to stand UP and make a difference. You have the ability to be an UPstander in your own right.
It really is quite simple. Take the East End Cooperative Ministries (EECM) located in East Liberty. Just read Carole Bailey’s words:
“Since becoming CEO of East End Cooperative Ministry, it didn’t take me long to figure out that volunteerism is the backbone of what we do and how we maintain service in changing the lives of people facing the impacts of poverty. In this uncertain and at times scary Covid-19 health emergency, I’ve marveled at how creative our volunteers could be….
…The area most affected for us when it comes to volunteerism was the evening meals prepared for our residents. Many of these groups decided, again due to health risks, not to provide meals during this time. We have encouraged groups to consider dropping off the pans of food for our staff to heat and serve or some groups have called local restaurants and have had meals dropped off. This has helped both the restaurants as well as provided food for those in need.”
Jane Louik has heeded the EECM call for years and especially now:
“I volunteered to organize a dinner for 50 of the folks served by East End Cooperative Ministry (EECM). My inspiration came from an email from The Center for Living Kindness’s Project UPstanders. That email listed several opportunities to provide some help where help was needed. I chose EECM because I was informed that the needs it served had dramatically increased as a result of Covid-19, and the idea of organizing a dinner spoke to me for several reasons. I had been feeling helpless to “do something;” the physical act of cooking has always been a stress reliever for me; and I had worked for EECM as a VISTA Volunteer when I first came to Pittsburgh in 1968.”
This time around, she didn’t keep it to herself. This time around, she invited her neighbors to cook in their own kitchens and drop the food at EECM. Elliott Oshry, Dee Jay Oshry and Bart Rack stood UP:
“My brother Dee Jay, his husband Bart, and I are so fortunate that we have the opportunity to join with good friends to provide a meal at EECM every now and then. Like you, we are most accustomed to shopping and cooking for family. But the experience of planning the meal, shopping and cooking for 50 men we have never met is even more gratifying. And it’s so easy. No special skill needed.”
It will be strange next week, our first time providing a meal during the COVID 19 pandemic. No handshakes. No hugs. We’ll have to let the smiles, and the occasional tears, communicate how much we care, especially when the guys come back for seconds.
Our neighbors are in need and we have the ability to help. When we do help, we are living out our mission: To redefine ‘neighbor’ from geographic term to moral concept.
Please contact Rabbi Ron Symons [email protected] if you would like to help EECM or if you have another recommendation for how we can help.
Be sure to see the details about our Project UPstander day of action in Wilkinsburg on June 4. For information, please click HERE