The tenth annual Mitzvah Day was held Friday morning at Jewish Community Centers in Baltimore and surrounding counties. This year, organizers from the Jewish Volunteer Connection planned 25 service projects to help those in need.
"We're trying to break the movie and Chinese tradition a little bit," said organizer Ashley Pressman. "It's just really hard to find the time to volunteer. Today is an opportunity. People have a little bit of a break and it's a great opportunity to give back."
Hundreds of volunteers put together a record 2,000 packages full of food, toiletries and other essentials at the Park Heights JCC and Owings Mills JCC. The packages were then delivered to area soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
Over the years, organizers say the event has shown the generosity of the Jewish community and given volunteers something to look forward to on Christmas Day.
"To say they were excited like kids the night before Christmas, to come to Mitzvah Day, was the perfect statement," said co-chair Michelle Damareck
Pressman hopes the positive experience at Mitzvah Day will inspire giving all year long.
"Our goal is that people will have such a meaningful time today, that they will want to Volunteer again, and again, and again."