From flower pots for nursing home residents, to soup kits for the Jewish Food Pantry, Mitzvah Day 2006 is geared toward tikkun olam (healing the world) and making a difference one mitzvah project at a time.
Al Weltman, co-chairman of the Mitzvah Day, said the event is special because of the fact “that you involve a lot of people who might not get involved otherwise, they might be sitting at home. This way they feel good having done something for somebody else.”
Students of Shaare Shalom Religious School will have a special part in the Mitzvah Day — which will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at BSKI on Mar. 5 — including classroom presentations on different tzedakah causes and participation in the different projects. Parents and other adults are also welcome to take part in the projects and help make the day a success. Those who can’t make it on Mar. 5 are still encouraged to help collect items needed for the projects and bring donations to the religious school office.
One project of the day will be filling backpacks for children and contributing them to the Na’amat USA St. Louis Council’s Project Backpack, which provides backpacks for children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or domestic violence. Toiletries and hair care items, clothing, school supplies and comfort items — such as small stuffed animals, color and activity books and flashlights — are needed for this project.
There will be a project to paint 100 flowerpots, fill them with potting soil and put a plant in each one for delivery to the Mary Ryder Assisted Living Facility, and a different project to fill vases with silk flower arrangements to be taken to the Cedars for the enjoyment of residents, patients and their families.
There will be a project to sort and pack donated items into “treat bags” for dogs and cats at the Animal Protective Association, for which dog and cat food and treats, toys, collars and leashes are needed.
“We do a lot of things for kids,” Weltman said. “For example, for ones in the hospitals we make happy hats. We have hats and decorate them and send them over to the hospitals where they are needed.”
Fabric pens, fabric markers and pompoms and other decorations are needed for the happy hats.
General arts and crafts items are needed for putting together craft kits and taking them to Kid’s Place, an after-school program at University United Methodist Church serving low-income elementary school children. Crafts items will also be used to write notes and decorate cards to go with the flowerpots, the backpacks and the happy hats.
The BSKI Women’s league will run a project which will involve packing meals in trays and decorating them and distributing the meals to families or individuals in need, and ready-to-cook food packets will also be created for the Jewish Food Pantry.
Cookies will also be baked in a new project to bring cookies for members of the armed forces upon their return or transfer through the Lambert International Airport USO.
Another new project this year will be to write notes and letters to Jews serving in the U.S. armed forces.
There will also be collections of clothing for clients of the St. Louis Developmental Disabilities Treatment Centers, used eyeglasses and cases for the Lions Club Recycle for Sight Project, and new or like-new children’s books for the Karen and Bill Solomon Library at BSKI and at Kids Place.
Lunch is free for anyone who donates a canned good or a toiletry item for the Jewish Food Pantry.
Mitzvah Day is sponsored each year by the BSKI Social Action Committee.
For more information visit www.e-bski.org or contact the BSKI office at 314-725-6230.
Keren Douek is a staff writer and can be reached at [email protected]