As the mother of a young child, I know that the end of the year can be both an opportunity to enjoy fun, festive events as well as a time of desperation to find fun, festive events that are indoors and suited for young children. Especially the week between Christmas and New Year’s, when schools and day cares are closed, it can be hard to find events for the whole family with the cold weather.
This Dec. 24 and 25 the Jewish Volunteer Connection, along with the Associated Jewish Charities, is partnering with charities across the Baltimore area for Mitzvah Day. In the Jewish tradition a “mitzvah” is regarded as a good deed, something done for someone else. The day involves coordination with thousands of volunteers and dozens of charitable organizations– and while they day is sponsored by a Jewish agency because most Jewish people do not observe the holiday of Christmas, you need not be Jewish to participate!
Are you someone trying to reconnect with your high school friends that are back in town? You could serve breakfast, lunch or dinner on Christmas Day to homeless women and children at Sarah‘s Hope or to veterans at Baltimore Station.
Are you someone with young kids and looking to burn some energy? Bring them to various retirement communities to for some bingo and entertainment with the residents.
Are you spending Christmas out of state or with relatives? You can send gifts to children and families in need from an Amazon wishlist. Are you looking to help welcome immigrants to this country and make them feel welcome this winter? You can make school supplies kits with the Esperenza Center to distribute to recent immigrants to this country to help them adjust to a new school and new life.
Do you just need to get out of the house? You can stay in your car and be a “Santa’s Helper” delivering gifts to children and families in need on Christmas. Whether you have 10 minutes or 10 hours this Christmas consider making the day special for someone outside your family.
This is the time of year when work starts to slow down and people take the time to think about what they are grateful for and the people they love and who love them. It is the best time of year to make time for service and set an example for your friends, family and co-workers for how to be a source for others.
“Mitzvah Day is in its 13th year and continues to grow! We estimate that the work volunteers do on Mitzvah Day impacts 4,000 people in our community. We are thankful to be able to partner with a variety of organizations to make a large impact in two days,” says Alexandra Ade, community outreach and volunteer associate.
Register for Mitzvah Day with Jewish Volunteer Connection or reach out to an organization near and dear to your heart and ask if they need help on Christmas. Give yourself and those around you a merry and meaningful Christmas!