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Sophie and Jess are Do-Gooders. In their spare time, they do things like volunteer at local soup kitchens, give back to Jewish non-profit organizations, and plan community-wide days of service. Get to know these two mensches as we chat about french fries, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and giving back.
Allie: Describe each other in one word.
Jess: Radiant, giving off good, positive vibes. Sorry, that’s more than one word!
Sophie: Dedicated, driven.
Allie: Where does your passion for volunteering come from?
Jess: Volunteering – whether serving on a board or helping with a one time event – was really important in my household growing up. Learning this from my grandparents and parents is what led me into the social action world. Community service is for others, but it also feels really good to make small changes and small positive impacts.
So, when I moved to DC, I started volunteering for The Jewish Federation and ADL (the Anti-Defamation League). I also enjoy volunteering at places like N Street Village, or helping build homes where you can get your hands dirty and know that you’re making someone’s home a happy place.
Sophie: I love being a part of making our community better and engaging other people to do that. When I started working after college, I felt like I had a lot of free time outside of work so I started volunteering with my company (Booz Allen Hamilton) at places like SOME and Miriam’s Kitchen. Later on, my husband (then boyfriend) introduced me to Federation, and I wound up getting involved with the volunteer aspects of the organization. I love the idea that even if you don’t have money to give, you can give in other ways to help those who can’t help themselves.
Allie: I hear that you’re volunteering to make Good Deeds Day happen this year. Tell me about that!
Sophie: Good Deeds Day (which is Sunday, April 29) is DC-area’s day to give back, and is part of the global day of service where millions around the world volunteer to help their community.
Allie: What Good Deeds Day service project should our GatherDC readers sign up for?
Jess: I’d say the project with N Street Village, to prepare/serve meals to homeless and low-income women. There’s also an opportunity to make meals for those facing homelessness at DC Central Kitchen.
Sophie: There’s a service project specifically for young adults to help out at Covenant House, which provides resources to homeless, disconnected, and exploited youth.
Allie: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Sophie: “Be where your feet are.”
Jess: I really like that! So important to be present, be in the moment.
Allie: If you could have dinner with any celebrity, who would it be?
Jess: Taylor Kitsch, but only if he came as his character Tim Riggins from “Friday Night Lights”.
Sophie: JTT. Jonathan Taylor Thomas circa 1997.
Allie: If you could eat only 3 things for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Jess: My mom’s challah. Summer strawberries. Chicago Giordano’s deep dish pizza.
Sophie: Crabs. French fries. I really only have two.
Allie: Who is the biggest Do-Gooder you know?
Sophie: Jose Andres – I always see him giving back locally and around the world. I love how he uses his work and passion for food to help others.
Jess: My parents. They give a lot of their time, talents, and treasures to make an impact in St. Petersburg, FL (where I grew up). I’d be lucky if I could make just part of the impact that they’ve made.
Allie: Complete the sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…
Sophie/Jess: They Do Good!