BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For many members of the Baltimore Jewish community, Christmas Day is about giving. On Sunday, hundreds of people got together at the Owings Mills Jewish Community Center for “Mitzvah Day” to volunteer and help those in the community in need.

A long line wasn’t for getting gifts, but rather grabbing items to give to someone else. It was all a part of the 11th annual Mitzvah Day organized by the Jewish Volunteer Connection.

“So in each one of these winter care packages, we have a hand knit hat and a hand knit scarf and a card that was colored by someone in the community. We really want to add those personal touches. What we’ve heard from the recipients of the bags is, those are the pieces that make a difference, that really touch their hearts,” says Ashley Pressman, with Jewish Volunteer Connection.

In all, 2,000 of those packages were prepared with volunteer’s help. A “mitzva,” which is Hebrew for a good deed, is what this day is all about when it comes to helping people and pets.

“We’re donating no-sew fleece blankets for their cages. We’re also donating cat toys and dog toys. We’re also donating arts and crafts to the sinai children hospital,” says Aura Kenzal, with the JCC.

For these volunteers, Christmas Day is about giving back time and love for a day and activity that has become a family tradition for many.

“It’s nice, you know, I like coming back year after year. My family is involved now,” says volunteer Alan Elkin.

The gifts donated are given reusable bags. These bags this allow those receiving the goodies to have a place for storage of their gifts and other belongings.

The Jewish Volunteer Connection’s mission is to foster a culture of service and engage volunteers to meet vital community needs. And that’s what happened on Christmas Day.

The Mitzvah Day is among Jewish Volunteer Connection’s largest annual events.


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