By Rachael Cardin

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The annual Mitzvah Day carried on as scheduled at the Weinberg Park Heights Jewish Community Center on Christmas Eve, despite the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was one noticeable difference: the event had far fewer volunteers than in years past. Typically, thousands of volunteers join forces to help pack, load and distribute bags, but there were fewer than 60 on Friday.

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“We have a very small group helping us because we have a safety obligation to make sure the 2,100 winter care packages are assembled,” said Erica Bloom, one of the organizers with Jewish Volunteer Connection.

Some of this year’s volunteers were young people, like Micah Bloom.

“I do this to help people in need who don’t have the things we have,” Bloom said.

“I like putting stuff in bags to give to people,” his friend, Blake Govicch, added.

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Libby Schwartz came out with her father to help.

“I want to make a big Mitzvah for people who are cold and don’t have homes,” she said.

Her father, Mike Schwartz, is the co-chair of the organization. He thanked the many volunteers who pitched in on Friday.

“We’re so fortunate for the volunteers out in the community today, out of JCC, who have made good food and are dropping off meals,” Schwartz said.

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The 2,100 care packages will be given to 10 nonprofit organizations, which will distribute them to families in need.

Rachael Cardin