Make Change This Year

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Over the years, like many in our community, I collected change.

Whenever I had extra nickels, dimes and quarters, I would throw them into large shoe boxes, watch the coin collections grow and not really think about how my money could be put to better use.

That is, until this summer. When I accepted the position of campaign chair of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, I remember pulling out my boxes and taking a hard look, surprised that I had amassed 150 pounds of coins, totaling $2,500.

It was a seminal moment for me. Twenty-five hundred dollars sitting in a closet. What was the point, when these coins could better be used doing good for our community? Through The Associated, my change could provide home repairs for low-income seniors, groceries for single mothers struggling to make ends meet and scholarships to help young children go to camp.

We often don’t realize how much change each of us has in our homes. Yet, our change can really amount to making a difference in someone’s life. Even as little as $10 in quarters can buy school supplies for a child in need.

It was this idea that became the basis for The Associated’s Make Change Campaign — an opportunity for our community to use its change to make meaningful change.

Understanding that many young people don’t collect change — they rarely pay in cash — we decided to broaden this concept and provide more opportunities for the community to be involved. Through our Make Change Campaign, you can:

• Drop off your spare change at several designated events throughout the year. These include #GivingTuesday (Nov. 27), Community Mitzvah Day (Dec. 25), Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 21) and Good Deeds Day (April 7). We also expect to add additional days and locations.

• Join The Associated’s credit or debit card round up program, in which transactions are rounded up to the nearest dollar. For example, a latte from the local coffee shop that costs $2.95 will be rounded up to $3.00 and 5 cents will be donated to The Associated. You can sign up at associated.org/change, or to start rounding up, text ASSOCIATED to 43506 and follow the prompts.

The Make Change Campaign is an excellent way for families to introduce the concept of tzedakah. Every Shabbat, families can drop their change into the family tzedakah box while they talk about how they want to support their Jewish community.

To increase the impact of the community’s gifts, a number of corporate partners have signed on to match donations raised during the Make Change Campaign. These organizations will cumulatively match the total for the year — in essence, doubling what is available to help our community.

This year, I am challenging you to join me in The Associated’s Make Change campaign and make real and lasting change.

Steve Fader is chair of the annual campaign at The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

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