As part of Women’s Philanthropy from the Miami Jewish Federation Outreach project, this past Thursday more than 100 women got together to assemble 600 Deluxe Toiletries Kits that will be distributed to our Seniors and Holocaust Survivors in Miami.  This was a month long effort and presented quite a challenge as we needed to collect over 5400 items. We partnered with JCS (Jewish Community Services) who highlighted this need in one of our most fragile populations, whom very often go without these essential items that are needed for personal hygiene.  All the JCCs, most of the area synagogues, and even other women’s organizations, jumped in at the opportunity and served as drop off sites. 

My involvement in the Miami Jewish Community came through my volunteerism.  This has been an integral part of my life.  When I first moved here, I started by collecting Purim costumes and sending them to Israel, followed by baby clothing and winter coats, which went to serve different populations throughout the country.  This is how I became involved in Federation, and since then I have grown into more structured leadership roles. 

I love these types of projects because they create a butterfly effect:  impact is felt not only by the volunteers, but by the donors and, most especially, by the recipients.  I call them multi-dimensional projects because they touch so many people, some who you would never have expected, just like you can’t really tell where a butterfly will touch down or who will take in a breath of appreciation when they view it flying its unpredictable path. The day before the event, so many women came forward to donate money to buy whatever we still needed at that point, and to top it off, and totally unexpectedly, we got a huge delivery of two crates of goods from a local company. 

How inspiring was this project? What started as a one-time thing, now, thanks to so many people who were inspired by this, will be repeated in a couple of months.

For me, the biggest reward is when people say “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to help.”  

Mytyl Simancas-Bister is a current Wexner Heritage Member and about-to-be-alumna in the Miami 11 class, which will graduate this summer in Israel. In addition to her lay leadership mentioned in the article, Mytyl is currently the Lion Pride Chair for Lion of Judah, and the Programming Committee Vice Chair for the recently opened MBJCC. Mytyl also serves on the boards of Hebrew Academy, and Greater Miami Jewish Federation, where she is starting a new position of Campaign Chair for Miami Beach. Mytyl along with her family served as Past Chairs of the 2013-14 GMJF Super Sunday Phonathon. Mytyl was born in Mexico City, and spent 12 years in New York City before moving to Miami, where she has lived with her husband and 3 children for the last 15 years.