The 14th Annual Mitzvah Day is on Weds., Dec. 25, 2019!

This annual event is a community outreach effort coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill in conjunction with local synagogues and Jewish organizations. With many people off work and school, it’s the chance to come together and do something meaningful.

Mitzvah Day kicks off with a community breakfast at the Levin JCC at 9:00am. After breakfast, volunteers depart for their various assignments around the community – cooking meals at local shelters, cleaning parks and trails, delivering gifts to those in need, making blankets for people experiencing homelessness, and more.

Volunteer Read FAQs Support

(Photo credit for Mitzvah Day photos goes to Kim Lan Grout and Omari Akil.)

Registration is now closed and all projects are at capacity.  

Questions? Check out our FAQ or contact Madeline Seltman, Director of Engagement at or 919-354-4938.

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Special groups:

  • Families with kids age 6 and under: Introducing Mini Mitzvah Zone, brought to you by PJ Library!  Families with kids 6 and under, enjoy Mitzvah Day tailored just for you.  Rotate among several different kid-friendly projects all in one space, with a play corner for our littlest mensches.
  • Teens:  Cookie Decorating
  • 20s-30s: Caring House
  • Triangle Family Shule: Families Moving Forward

Create beautiful and functional things to brighten someones’ day:

Making Things for Others

These projects reflect Jewish values of K’vod He-ahnee (respecting the poor), Tza’ar Ba’alay Hayim (kindness to animals), and Tzedakah (charity).

OrganizationFamily FriendlyAssociated CostTimeVolunteers NeededDescriptionLocation
Blanket and Sock Durham


All ages – kids welcome!Socks (optional)10am-12pm25 – FULLMake no-sew fleece blankets and care packages for Urban Ministries.JCC
BRIDGES Greeting Card Making


All ages. Volunteers available to help anyone with special needs.None10am-11:30am20 – FULLMake greeting cards to be used by JCC and JFS and to sell- priority given to volunteers with special needs and their families.JCC
Habitat for Humanity baffle decoratingAll ages – great for kidsNone10am-11:30am15 – FULLDecorate cardboard baffles to be installed in the attics of Habitat for Humanity homesJCC

Mini Mitzvah Zone, brought to you by PJ Library

Families with kids 6 and underNone10am-11:30am40 – FULLRotate among kid-friendly projects in one space like making bookmarks for people learning to read, decorating picture frames for older adults, and making a bird feeder to take home, plus a play corner for the littlest mensches.JCC
Soup MakingAll agesNone10am-11am12 – FULLPut together dry soup mixes for clients at Jewish Family Services and Urban Ministries’ food pantry.JCC
Toys for DogsAll ages-great for kidsNone10am-12pm20 – FULLMake fleece dog toys to be delivered to local animal sheltersJCC


Make food for those in need, those with sick children, and our public servants:

Cooking/Baking for Others

These projects reflect Jewish values of K’vod He-ahnee (respecting the poor) and V’ahavta l’rayaha kamokha (love your neighbor as yourself).

OrganizationFamily FriendlyAssociated CostTimeVolunteers NeededDescriptionLocation

Cookie Decorating

Teens, with DRTYNone10am-11:30am20 – FULLDecorate cookies for public servants working Christmas DayJCC
Chapel Hill Police DepartmentAll ages1 or more dishes12pm-1pm8 – FULLDeliver desserts to police officers on duty.Chapel Hill
Durham Police DepartmentAll ages1 or more dishes12pm-1pm8 – FULLDeliver a home-cooked desserts to 50 on-duty officersDurham, downtown
Durham Rescue MissionAge 10+1 or more large dishes or ingredients11am-1pm20 – FULLCook and serve lunch for 130-140 men’s shelter residents.Durham, near downtown
Fire Station 11All ages1 or more dishes1pm-2pm8 – FULLDeliver a home-cooked meal to 4 on-duty officers.Durham, near JCC
Ronald McDonald House Durham-DinnerAges 8+Ingredients for 1 or more large dishes (to cook on site).4:30pm-7pm20 – FULLCook and serve dinner for 50-60 family members of sick childrenDurham, near Duke Hospitals
Threshold ClubhouseAges 10+None10am-1pm6 – FULLCook lunch with and visit with clubhouse members with mental illness.East Durham
Urban MinistriesAges 10+None10:30pm-1:30pm8 – FULLCook and serve meals to the guests at the shelter.Durham, downtown


Spend time with older adults:

Visiting Seniors

These projects reflect Jewish values of Bikkur Holim (visiting the sick) and Hiddur P’nay Zakayn (honoring the elderly).

OrganizationFamily FriendlyAssociated CostTimeVolunteers NeededDescriptionLocation
BrookdaleBest for adultsNone10:15am-12pm15 FULLSing carols to older adults in memory care at 2 locationsDurham, near rt. 54
PettigrewAll agesNone10:30pm-12pm15 FULLSing carols with residents.Durham, near Duke East Campus
HillcrestAll agesNone10am-12pm15 FULLPlay bingo and other activities with residents.Durham, near Duke East Campus
Meals on Wheels Chapel HillAll agesNone10am-12pm5 cars FULLDeliver meals to home-bound older adults.Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Southern Orange County

Projects taking care of the environment and being outside:

Get Outside

These projects reflect the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).

OrganizationFamily FriendlyAssociated CostTimeVolunteers NeededDescriptionLocation

Accessible Icon Project
5+None10am-12pm15 FULLSpray paint accessible icon on city parking spacesDurham, location TBD

Lerner Mural Project
10+None10am-12pm12 FULLPainting a mural at the Lerner Schoolnext door to JCC
Trees Across Durham10+None10am-12pm20 FULLPlant trees with the Durham County Sustainability OfficeDurham neighborhood TBD
Park Clean UpAll ages – great for kidsNone10:30am-12pm20 FULLBeautify local parks and public areas.Durham, park TBD

Wrap and deliver gifts, and more:

More Projects

These projects reflect Jewish values of Gemilut Hasadim (righteous deeds), rahamanut (compassion), and Ahavat yisrael (love of our neighbors).

OrganizationFamily FriendlyAssociated CostTimeVolunteers NeededDescriptionLocation

Mitzvah Day breakfast and event support
8+NoneDec 24 afternoon/evening OR Dec 25 7:30am-11 am15 FULLHelp plan and set up/clean up Mitzvah Day Breakfast (you can do this and another project)JCC

Caring House
20s & 30s of all abilities with Next Dor and Moishe HouseNone10am-12pm15 FULLClean and organize house for cancer patientsDurham, near JCC
Families Moving ForwardTriangle Family Shule familiesWrapping paper and ribbon ($10-$25)10am-11am10 FULLWrap items and make cards to be delivered to residentsJCC
Habitat for Humanity Gift BasketsAll agesCleaning/household items ($25-$50 per volunteer)10am-12pm25 FULLAssemble and deliver Welcome Baskets for new Habitat homeowners.JCC, then delivering in Durham
NC Diaper BankAll ages- great for kidsPackage(s) of diapers (optional)10am-11:30am15 FULLSort and wrap diapers from diaper drive for families in needJCC
Walltown Children’s Theatre10+None10am-12pm25 FULLDeep clean children’s theatreNorthwest Durham

Click here to download our FAQs!

Support Mitzvah Day

Can’t be here to volunteer on Dec 25th or just want to help make Mitzvah Day happen? You can still participate!

Your generous, tax-deductible donation supports supplies for projects (craft supplies, food, gifts for those in need) and other event costs.

We will be collecting items for the Diaper Bank of NC Dec 1-25! Whole and partial packages of diapers of all sizes (size 5 is most needed) and new packages of underwear, all sizes. Drop off in the Singer Family Atrium at the J.

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