What’s more intimidating than a determined Jewish mother? How about 500 of them?
At Moms on a Mission, a VolunTeam organized through Jewish Volunteer Connection, a group of Jewish mothers are dedicated to providing the local community with support to get through challenging times.
“It’s kind of like a combination of a mom’s night out, where we can do a little bit of good in the community, help out different organizations, but also have that social piece and connect with other moms in the community who have kids of similar ages,” said Laurie Rosen of Pikesville, the group’s team leader.
The group currently has 535 members, who typically meet once a month in groups that have ranged from 15 to 30 and spend their time on a plethora of different volunteer projects. These have included collecting 334 children’s winter hats for Weekend Backpacks for Homeless Kids, sending 160 individually packed dinners to the Ronald McDonald House, collecting 590 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on behalf of Our Daily Bread and raising $2,000 in March of 2019 to purchase bagels for the staff of area hospitals.
JVC provides assistance by identifying partner organizations in need of volunteer manpower, or womanpower as the case may be, and connecting them with the Moms on a Mission group, Rosen said.
Rosen started the group in October of 2019.
After two years of working as a community connector with the Macks Center for Jewish Education, planning and organizing different events, Rosen realized she still wanted to stay connected in the Jewish world but was not sure in what capacity. Staff at JVC suggested she begin one of their VolunTeams, and she realized it was an opportunity to combine her passion for volunteering while being social and connecting with the community. She began with a simple Facebook group that has since taken off.
The Moms on a Mission VolunTeam had held six in-person events when the pandemic began in March of 2020. After that, the group pivoted to holding virtual events from April to July. From August to November, they began holding in-person events with social distancing and mask wearing. They returned to virtual programming in December and January, but are hoping to hold an in-person event in February.
Word of mouth has played a major role in the group’s membership, Rosen said. Members of the group commonly invite their friends or neighbors to tag along. Members aren’t required to be Jewish, but Rosen estimated that only a handful were not.
The only requirement for joining is that members have at least one child under 10 years old. This helps give all members a subject of conversation and common ground to stand on, Rosen said.
“You might have a child, let’s say a preschooler, who’s struggling with their sleep, and then you find that at an event you’re talking to another mom who also has a preschooler who’s struggling with their sleep,” Rosen said. “So we just kind of find that keeping that age range just makes it more relatable.”
When asked what she hopes members get from the experience, Rosen said that “I hope that they feel good about doing something good, knowing that we can put all of our heads or hands together … and help our community. And they get to walk away, hopefully, with a new friendship … and meet other moms of kids of similar ages.”