"Mitzvah" in Hebrew means "good deed." For the 9th straight year, the Shalom Pittsburgh initiative of the United Jewish Federation has organized "Mitzvah Day" on Christmas Day. Spokeswoman Becca Lehner says they started Mitzvah Day to give the regular volunteers at agencies and organizations in Pittsburgh a chance to spend Christmas with their families while still taking care of the needs of the needs of those who are served by those organizations on a daily basis.
Lehner says they have about 420 volunteers who will be helping out at more than 40 sites today including several soup kitchens, assisted living centers, nursing homes, hospitals and the Auberle House for at-risk youth. Lehner says they've also made up gift bags for children who have to be moved from dangerous homes to safer settings.
Lehner says the volunteers want to have an impact..."they want to give back to the organizations that give so much to the Pittsburgh area."
Lehner says that the Mitzvah Day volunteering has become an annual tradition for many as well as a family activity.