25,000 volunteers set for Mitzvah Day of good deeds

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25,000 volunteers set for Mitzvah Day of good deeds

Community is being asked to 'plant, collect, clean and make your project green', for the day of Jewish social action, in an attempt to reduce both waste and their carbon footprint

Jack Mendel is the former Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Bushey Mitzvah Day  - Card making for Save a Child's Heart
Bushey Mitzvah Day - Card making for Save a Child's Heart

More than 25,000 volunteers are preparing to take part in this weekend’s Mitzvah Day, with this year’s focus on helping the environment.

The community is being asked to “plant, collect, clean and make your project green”, for the annual day of Jewish social action, in an attempt to reduce both waste and their carbon footprint.

In the day’s flagship event, which will take place at JW3, hundreds of people will cook meals for the homeless from donated food.

Mitzvah Day’s chief executive, Georgina Bye, said: “We know that our volunteers love to cook, donating the results to local homeless shelters.

“This year in an effort to reduce both food waste and our carbon footprint we are asking them to do a fridge sweep and bring along items that are left over.

JW3 Cooking Session: Young professionals cooking for Sufra NW – photo by Yakir Zur

“Everyone will then be taking those two spare carrots, the half a bag of potatoes, apples from the tree in the garden and the almost full bag of lentils from that recipe which was only ever made once – and getting creative to create something delicious.”

Gardening at the peace hospice in Watford!

 As well as reducing food waste, this year’s Mitzvah Day will be hosting more tree-planting projects than ever, in addition to running schemes including cleaning up local parks and cemeteries, collecting clothes and food for the needy and organising singalongs at care homes.

Known for bringing people together for the past 11 years, Mitzvah Day will continue its theme of interfaith work, encouraging Jewish and non-Jewish volunteers to learn more about each other through good deeds.

In previous years, the Jewish and Muslim community have taken part in blood donation schemes and mass chicken soup-making for the homeless. Inspired by Mitzvah Day, the Muslim community launched its equivalent – Sadaqa Day – in 2015.

Mitzvah Day events have been planned right across the UK, including in London, Hertfordshire, Essex, Manchester and Leeds, as well as places without significant Jewish communities such as Peterborough, in Cambridgeshire, and Whitehaven, in Cumbria.

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism, said: “I hope as many people as possible will use this day to recycle, reuse and to reinvigorate efforts to protect our previous environment.”

Beyond the UK, more than 15,000 activities will take place across 30 countries.

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