Volunteers needed for Mitzvah Day in Sarasota and Manatee counties on Sunday, Feb. 21

The community-wide event will offer hands-on help to local nonprofit organizations

Temple Beth Sholom will be the meeting place for volunteers. Photo from the Temple website
Temple Beth Sholom will be the meeting place for volunteers. Photo from the Temple website

On Feb. 21, the 11 congregations of the Synagogue Council of Sarasota-Manatee, with support from The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee (JFSM), will present the first annual Mitzvah Day, a community-wide initiative designed to assist local non-profit agencies, the Council has announced.

Volunteers are needed for more than a dozen projects, including sorting food donations at All Faiths Food Bank; organizing donated items for Family Promise and Mothers Helping Mothers; creating gift baskets for the Jewish Family & Children’s Service Senior Outreach Program; stuffing gala invitations for Cat Depot; participating in a sing-a-long with the residents of Anchin Pavilion; serving snacks and interacting with guests at a Circus Arts Conservatory performance; and helping with grounds-keeping at Bay Preserve of the Conservation Foundation and Save our Seabirds, a news release says.

For more information and to register to volunteer, visit www.jfedsrq.org/ways-to-give/mitzvahday or call 927-3636. Space is limited, the release adds; the registration deadline is Feb. 12.

Laurie Lachowitzer, president of the Synagogue Council of Sarasota, explains in the release that projects will be available for all ages and levels of abilities. “The response to Mitzvah Day has exceeded our greatest expectations,” she says in the release. “We thought it might be a challenge to find agencies that would want helpers on a Sunday, but that was not the case. More and more groups are eager to be a part of this inaugural effort. We invite members of the Jewish community and beyond to join us in this community-wide volunteer effort.”

Lachowitzer notes in the release that Mitzvah Day also includes a collection drive.

“We’re collecting diapers, books for preschoolers, white athletic socks for men, travel-sized toiletries, pop-top cans of ready-to-eat food, non-perishable food items and fun items for gift baskets for seniors, including notepaper, lotions and word game books,” she says.

A drop-off place for donations will be provided at a kick-off breakfast on Sunday, Feb. 21, at Temple Beth Sholom, located at 1050 S. Tuttle Ave. in Sarasota, Lachowitzer adds in the release.

Volunteer check-in will start at 8:30 a.m. Light bites will be served, and then a short program will be offered before volunteers go off to their projects, the release points out.