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Project Mercy

Synagogue helps improve the basic living standards of impoverished families in Mexico.

Community Contact Information:
Temple Adat Shalom
Poway, CA
www.adatshalom.com

Goals:

  • Build houses for impoverished families in Mexico.
  • Raise funds to help improve quality of life for families in Tijuana.
  • Engage congregants in diverse aspects of a social action program, from fundraising to building homes.

Overview:
Project Mercy is a nonprofit organization that strives to improve the basic living standards of families in the shantytowns of Tijuana, Mexico.

Preparation:
The Social Action Committee raises funds as well as assisted with the building, finishing, and painting of one or two basic, sturdy houses each year for Tijuanan families.

Project Implementation:
The congregation invited the director of Project Mercy to speak at the synagogue to talk about Project Mercy. Through this opportunity, the committee educated congregants about the untenable living conditions of a nearby community just across the border. Volunteer trips are planned to take groups of 5-20 congregants to the Tijuanan neighborhoods to help build homes. Together with the Tijuanan residents, congregants build homes. In spite of the language barrier, these interactions have been powerful for both communities. Those congregants unable to help on the home build participate in Project Mercy by donating items to the annual Blanket and Stuffed Animal Campaign. This campaign provides the children of the Tijuana community with security and warmth during bedtime. In addition, Project Mercy organizers asked congregants to assist in a special project and fundraise on behalf of a young girl from the community who needed a lifesaving surgery. The synagogue’s seventh grade religious school class took this project on as their own, helping to raise the funds for her surgery.

Results:
The relationship that developed between the two communities is a strong, long-lasting one. Since the beginning of Project Mercy, the synagogue has worked with local churches, creating an interfaith alliance to contine their efforts.