SQUIRREL HILL (KDKA) – It was all hands on deck at the Poale Zedeck Synagogue in Squirrel Hill on Christmas Day.
Volunteers spent part of the day preparing 150 lasagnas – meals to be donated to the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry.
“Every year, we come to Mitzvah Day and we take a day off from school and we try to do as much charity work as we can,” said volunteer Adina Kisilinsky.
Volunteers completed around 1,700 hours of service at more than 65 locations in and around Pittsburgh.
The effort by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is called “Mitzvah Day.”
Mitzvah is a Hebrew word referring to “good deeds.”
“We all want to help each other and it’s not our holiday,” said volunteer Judi Kanal. “And it’s not our holiday, so we are happy to spend the day. We’re off, why not do good things to help others on that day?”
More than 700 volunteers took part his year.
At the Jewish Community Center, many put together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The snacks will go to students involved in afterschool programs run by the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
Volunteers also made a lot of sock monkeys that will be delivered to kids at Children’s Hospital.
The sewing and stitching was real team effort among families.
“My daughter lives in Maine, but she came for vacation with my grandchildren,” said Bobbi Zimmer-Kann. “And we just love to do this.”
Kids, parents and grandparents also helped out at the Rainbow Kitchen. Volunteers cooked and served warm holiday meals.
“I’ve grown up volunteering every single day on Christmas,” said Peyton Klein. “And it’s kind of like something I love to do now, because it’s so rewarding when you give somebody something or when you help out.”