Portland Jewish Academy is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and is proud of our partnership with them in strengthening our local Jewish community as well as the global community.










Gautam Josse: Blanchet House

Gautam Josse

Featuring 8th Grader Gautam Josse

Can you describe what you are doing for Blanchet House these days?
I pack sack lunches with things like sandwiches and a bag of chips and a banana. Usually takes an hour to make 50 sandwiches, then packing them with the other snacks.  I splatter paint on the bags and write a little note on the back of them. 

What inspired you to take on this project?
I just like to give back to my community and make changes. 

What has been the best part of doing this work? 
I like to think of how people will get to eat, and not starve. 

What has been the biggest challenge? 
The biggest challenge was getting a sponsor to give me the bananas, bread, jam, peanut butter. I made several phone calls, but in the end, I finally got a person willing to help me out. It was Natural Grocers. They helped me out and supplied me with materials to feed people.
Can you describe some of the other projects you have done over the years?

I have gone to a Bootcamp and met many great people who have had the opportunity to help out the world. The Bootcamp is called Ocean Heroes. It usually is a weekend and last year I went to British Columbia for it. I am also working on a campaign to get rid of plastic straws in Hillsboro.

What kind of advice would you give someone your age or younger who is looking to do meaningful volunteer work? 
I would advise to always work hard. I have been doing it and people have been recognizing me for my campaign. I would say you would need time and to not give up. It took a lot of drafts and trials and errors to get to where I am. Anyone can make a change. I can, why can’t you?

Spotlight on ...

The Sack Lunch Challenge

On May 22, dozens of PJA families brought boxes and bags full of supplies for some of the most vulnerable populations of Portland. These bags contained sandwiches, fruit, and granola bars. Together, we collected 2500 sack lunches for Blanchet House...

Read More about The Sack Lunch Challenge