Volunteers Spend Christmas Helping Others For ‘Mitzvah Day’

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – While many spent this Christmas Day with friends and family, volunteers with the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh were giving back to the community.

Hundreds of volunteers took part in the 15th annual Mitzvah Day.

More than 700 volunteers, some 1,800 hours of service, at 70 sites throughout Pittsburgh. It’s been a busy two days for people of the Jewish faith. They took part in the 15th annual Mitzvah Day organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

At Hillel Academy, students, parents and teachers made meals and desserts for families in need.

“It makes me feel really good because I know that they’re going to enjoy it, and I helped make it for them,” said student Katriel Camp.

“It brings out a different side of kids,” said Yikara Levari with Hillel Academy. “It’s the comradery, it’s the creativity, it’s working together with their teachers and their parents, learning new recipes, and I think everybody here really understands why we’re doing it.”

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Also at Hillel Academy, students put together craft bags with beads and other supplies to make bracelets. All of the bags will go to patients at Children’s Hospital.

“We explained it to kids,” parent volunteer Mollie Butler said. “Like when you’re home and you are not feeling well, wouldn’t you love to have something to do? So for them it was relatable. They understood it, and they were excited to be part of this.”

“We’re making stuff for people in the Children’s Hospital, so they could have something to play with instead of wait,” student Zeke Ufberg said.

In addition to the nearly 500 craft kits, some students made pictures, while other older students created word searches and puzzles. All of the artwork is a clear sign that these students want to make a difference.

“It’s good on both ends,” Butler said. “It’s good for the kids in the school that they feel like they’re being helpful, and it’s good for kids in a hospital to feel like they haven’t been forgotten just because they’re sick.”

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