Dreidels and turkeys? Menorahs and cornucopias? Latkes and sweet potato pie? What’s happening this year?
On November 28, 2013, Hannukah and Thanksgiving coincide. That’s the perfect opportunity to merge the concepts of giving, appreciating and celebrating! Can you think of 8 opportunities to share with your community where you get to make miracles happen and give thanks?
Here are just a few ideas but we would love to hear your suggestions too! Send them to: Info@themitzvahbowl.com.
1. Enjoy playing games? Go to a senior facility and organize a dreidel game with chocolate gelt. It will be a sweet treat for all who participate. The miracle is watching the smiles of the elderly as you interact with them and brighten their day!
2. Do you realize how many people in your region do not have food on their tables for the holidays? Volunteer at a food bank or organize a food drive in your synagogue, school or neighborhood. Drop off your collection at a local shelter. The miracle you are creating is helping to eradicate hunger in your community!
3. The holidays are a time to be with friends too! What a miracle it would be to create new friends with children who have special needs. Through activities and games, there are numerous non-profit organizations seeking eager role models to create an atmosphere of love, warmth and inclusion.
4. What better way to enlighten a child’s world than through music? Collect musical instruments for underprivileged students and bring them to a school in need. Make arrangements with a teacher to distribute the instruments and teach the children songs for Hannukah and Thanksgiving!
5. Not everyone can be home for the family celebration. You can create a miraculous experience for a soldier by sending our troops letters of appreciation for their service and/or a well-deserved package to brighten their spirits. What soldier wouldn’t beam at a box full of holiday treats?
6. Children enjoy expressing their feelings through art. It’s transforming how you can brighten up a shelter, elderly care facility, or hospital room with homemade drawings and paintings. Organize a holiday art contest asking other children to draw expressive art. Find a facility that would appreciate and display these meaningful pictures.
7. If you have a favorite charity that you would like to support, gift-wrapping holiday presents is a fun, easy way to perform a mitzvah and donate money. Contact a local merchant and ask the manager if you can set up a table to assist their customers with wrapping holiday gifts. Ask for donations as you perform your community service. Be creative with your project and offer a variety of wrapping paper – from turkeys to menorahs!
8. As the cold months quickly sneak up on us, collecting clothes for those who are less fortunate is a meaningful project that is desperately needed in many communities. Gloves, hats, scarves and socks are vital garments for clothing the needy. Make a flyer and create a collection box. Get permission from your principal and ask students at your school to contribute to your gently used warm clothing drive. What a mitzvah it is to bring warmth to needy families.
To help you to decide on the ideal non-profit organization that you would like to support, visit the Mitzvah Projects pages on The Mitzvah Bowl website. Click on the subject matter that appeals to you.
Making a difference is a fulfilling experience, especially during the holiday season!
by Valerie Franklin, Themitzvahbowl.com co-founder