A table reserved at a nearby Chinese restaurant (or takeout on its way to your place): check. Tickets to the blockbuster movie at your local cineplex (or a full Netflix queue): check. With all due respect to the traditional Jewish Christmas celebration, why not bring your celebration to the next level – by volunteering? From lending a hand at a soup kitchen and wrapping presents for those in need, to visiting with seniors and engaging in political activism, there are plenty of ways to pitch in on the annual Jewish “day off.” Here are a few ideas to get you started.
New York City New York Cares is an amazing site that offers fantastic volunteer opportunities throughout the year, including the Christmas season. Check out their website to plug in, or donate a gently worn winter coat for someone in need as part of their annual coat drive.
Pittsburgh Join Repair the World’s Pittsburgh-based fellows, and a bunch of other wonderful folks, for the Jewish Federation Mitzvah Day on Dec 24 and 25. Each of the volunteer opportunities are based off of a traditional Jewish value like committing acts of loving kindness (g’milut chasadim) and caring for the sick (bikur cholim).
Los Angeles Join members of IKAR, a social justice-minded synagogue community in LA for a morning spent preparing and serving breakfast for women and children living in transitional housing.
Baltimore Spend Christmas Eve and Day being a part of the 10th annual Mitzvah Day hosted by Jewish Volunteer Connection.
Washington DC Every year, the DCJCC organizes an epic day of service on December 25. There are tons of ways to get involved this year at D25 – find one that works for you.
Chicago Want to make a difference by organizing at a food pantry? Sorting inventory at Random Acts of Flowers, which recycles and repurposes flowers to be delivered to patients in healthcare facilities? Volunteer at a holiday party for seniors? Find out how at JUF’s Mitzvah Mania page.
London Live across the pond (from Repair the World’s NYC offices, anyway) in London? Join Light up a Life, a 10 day volunteer-a-thon with more than 1,000 activities to choose from. From Dec 23-Jan 1, plug in and make a difference.
Know of other great volunteer opportunities this holiday season? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting @RepairtheWorld.