In 2013, Mitzvah Day was on 17th November and it was bigger and better than in recent years.
Despite the fact that Mitzvah Day always falls in November we have so far been fortunate with the weather.
In line with the outdoors theme, volunteers helped clear land to help produce a Market Garden at Watford New Hope Trust (WNHT). This is a local charity that helps the homeless and other vulnerable people by providing accommodation and other facilities. The garden our volunteers worked on offers a peaceful environment for people at the Community Home where they can get involved in growing produce, giving opportunity for exercise and social interaction as part of their rehabilitation. Other volunteers also made sandwiches which, together with donated fruit, and chicken from the Bnei Mitzvah dinner were all given to WNHT to help feed 60 homeless the following day.
During the morning, as in previous years, a large number of volunteers spent several hours collecting non-perishable food items outside Flax’s Deli in Bushey Heath for JGift, a charity that provide food to disadvantaged Jewish families.
In the Shul, donations flooded in for our chosen charities.
Emunah helps children and families in Israel and helps to provide solutions to the difficulties experienced by the most vulnerable and deprived children. Unwanted designer goods were collected and then delivered to Emunah shops.
Langdon works to support people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and aims to develop independent living skills so that they can have equal life opportunities. We collected books to be catalogued and sold on Ebay by those with disabilities, allowing them to both gain valuable work experience and skills as well as raising funds at the same time.
Also at Shul, all 72 Cheder children made the most beautiful cards, some of which went to welcome home GiladShalit after his five long years in captivity by Hamas. Other cards went to children on the paediatric ward at Watford General Hospital. The messages on the cards were tender and thoughtful and demonstrated the idea behind Mitzvah Day; that it does not take a considerable effort to make a difference to someone else’s life, but that difference really matters.
We tried to cheer up the children on the Starfish Ward at Watford General Hospital. In 2011, with the generous help of the Starlight Children’s’ Foundation, we were able to provide lovely gifts, toys and balloons and hopefully, made their stay in hospital a little happier.
Meanwhile, the girls of 17th Bushey Brownies had made gifts and took them to Bushey House Beaumont Care Home in Bushey Village, entertaining the residents with songs and their company.
The children at Gan Aviv were undoubtedly our youngest volunteers. Not only did they bring in Tzedekah so they could learn the importance of helping others less fortunate than themselves, but they also donated presents for Camp Simcha to distribute to children in hospital during Chanukah.
Each year, we have over 200 volunteers who give just a little part of their Sunday morning to help others. We hope to double the number this year, run more projects and involve more people across the entire community. It is easily achievable but we need your help and your ideas.
The photos below show some of what goes on.