More than 1,000 local Jewish volunteers came out on Dec. 25 — Christmas Day — for Community Mitzvah Day. This marked the 12th consecutive year that the event was organized by Jewish Volunteer Connection, a program of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore that matches volunteers with hands-on service projects throughout the area.

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At the Park Heights and Owings Mills Jewish Community Centers, volunteers assembled more than 2,000 winter care packages (hand-knitted scarves and hats, toiletries, gloves, snacks, etc.) for homeless shelters and soup kitchens throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area. They also created animal toys, made fleece blankets, wrote letters for soldiers, and prepared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the hungry. There were 25 direct service projects on Mitzvah Day.

Items were distributed to individuals in homeless shelters in Baltimore City and County. In addition, throughout the afternoon, volunteers served holiday dinners at different venues throughout Baltimore.

“We were thrilled to see so many people come out for Mitzvah Day,” said JVC Executive Director Ashley Pressman. “It’s always inspiring to see so many people come out and make a difference in the community.”

On Jan. 14-15, JVC will present its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, which will feature community service projects around the area, including the assembling of hygiene kits for refugees around the world. For information or to register, visit

Photos by Lisa Shifren

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