JCRC, Islamic Foundation hold Jewish and Muslim ‘Christmas Day of Service’

On Christmas Day, the Islamic Foundation of Greater Saint Louis and the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis (JCRC) and its Milford and Lee Bohm Social Justice Center are sponsoring the second annual St. Louis area-wide “Jewish and Muslim Day of Service.”

The two religious communities are working together once again to organize and participate in a large-scale Christmas Day of Service project.

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 “We were so gratified at the number of volunteers of all faiths and backgrounds who came out last year on Christmas Day to help others, ” said Roberta Gutwein, co-chair of this year’s event. “This year we will have more sites that involve Jews and Muslims partnering together so that we can continue to strengthen our bonds and show our joint commitment to community service.”

Jewish and Muslim volunteers will be working side by side throughout the day at the various agencies. The event will kick off at 9 a.m. at the Jewish Community Center in Creve Coeur with a volunteer welcome breakfast. Participants will leave from there to blanket the community at the various sites.

Some examples of new volunteer sites and activities are:

• Youth in Need Emergency Shelter- preparing a meal for teens served by this agency that runs crisis intervention programs.

• Almost Home—sharing brunch with the teen mothers and children served by this agency

• Some of the popular sites from last year returning again this year are:

The 5 Star Senior Center- delivering hot meals to homebound seniors throughout the region.

The St. Louis Crisis Nursery (both St. Louis City and St. Charles, Mo. locations) – doing activities with the children and sharing a meal with them.

Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry-packing up goods to be donated to those in need.

Santa Helpers-delivering holiday gifts to low-income families.

In addition to the two sponsoring organizations, the complete list of supporting organizations to date can be found at www.stljewishmuslimdayofservice.org.  This is also the website where potential volunteers can sign up to serve on Christmas Day.

Additionally for others who wish to participate, the program includes a toiletry donation drive with six drop off points. The drop off locations are Congregation B’nai Amoona, Central Reform Congregation, Congregation Shaare Emeth, Daar Ul Islam Mosque, Temple Israel and Temple Emanuel. Donations gathered at these sites will be dispersed among four area non-profits.

New this year is a food drive and a drive for new blankets.  Blankets will be donated to Bi-Lingual International Assistance Services and can be dropped off at both locations of the JCC and the JCRC office, 12 Millstone Campus Drive beginning Monday, Nov. 26.  Food items needed, which will be used for the Gateway 180 site, are:  deluxe macaroni and cheese (the kind that does not require milk or butter), cans of tuna (5-7 oz.), saltine crackers, mayonnaise, peanut butter, jelly, breakfast or granola bars, fruit juice and cereal.  

Food items can be dropped off beginning Nov. 26 at both locations of the JCC during normal operating hours or at NextDor, 5062 Waterman Avenue on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment by contacting [email protected] or 314-632-6398.

For more information or to sign up online, visit www.stljewishmuslindayofservice.org or contact Gail Wechsler, Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice for the Jewish Community Relations Council at 314-442-3894.