JCSVV benefits VOC Community Garden, plans Good Deed Day to help others
During the High Holy Day season, the Village of Oak Creek was the recipient of some good deeds by members of the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley. This month, everyone has the opportunity to join in an array of “good deeds” during the annual Mitzvah Day.
The synagogue’s Social Action Committee purchased 106 fruit and vegetable plants and three flowering plants to “assist in pollinating plants by bees and hummingbirds.” The plants were donated to the Rotary Club VOC Community Garden for fall plantings.
The resulting fruits and vegetables will be donated to local schools and food banks to feed the hungry in the area.
Meanwhile, the SAC also conducted the annual High Holy Day Food Drive, collecting 229 pounds of non-perishable food items. That collection ran during the Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) holidays.
“Wow, 229 pounds of food is wonderful. The food donation equates to 300 meals provided,” Cathleen Healy-Baiza, executive director of the Community Food Bank of Sedona, told the SAC. “The impact of your donations will help greatly because we are assisting 160+ families weekly and our donations have been down about 20%.”
On Sunday, Oct. 29, from 1 to 4 p.m., JCSVV will again lead the Sedona/Verde Valley area in its annual Mitzvah (Good Deed) Day. Community groups and churches join in to help local public organizations and charities.
There will be two gathering places for attendees interested in performing “good deeds” for the community: The JCSVV synagogue on 100 Meadow Lark Drive, Sedona; and the Habitat for Humanity building, 737 S. Main St., Cottonwood. All are invited to sign up on the JCSVV.org website.
The first Mitzvah Day was instituted in 2007. It has continued as an annual event every year since (except for the COVID years 2020 and 2021). Last year the synagogue and various philanthropic groups hosted a “Mini-Mitzvah Day,” leading up to this year’s event.
Volunteers will sign in at the synagogue or the Cottonwood headquarters of Habitat for Humanity, from 12:30 to 1 p.m., pick up food and water, sign liability forms, and get name tags with the Mitzvah Day logo. Then volunteers will proceed to their work sites, and perform their good deeds.
Participants can choose from among 13 different “Mitzvah Day ‘’ projects.
For those with knitting skills, or who would like to learn, there will be teddy bears to knit thanks to Knitting Without Borders (bring knitting needles, if you have them).
Volunteers may also stuff the teddy bears or make holiday cards for refugee resettlement centers and stuff envelopes for mailings from the Community Food Bank of Sedona and Old Town Mission.
Other indoor tasks include working with Keep Sedona Beautiful to organize and clean up the storeroom, and helping the Humane Society of Sedona organize supplies and clean up their animal shelter.
For volunteers wishing to help in the great outdoors, the U.S. Forest Service is offering trash pick-up in Oak Creek Canyon and also in the Village of Oak Creek. Hope House offers yard work at its house for needy families, Red Rock State Park needs volunteers to clear some trails, and Keep Sedona Beautiful needs help restoring their Eco-Hub grounds.
Volunteers who meet at Cottonwood may stay at the Habitat for Humanity site for hauling branches, raking and cleaning up outside. Cottonwood volunteers may also organize the shelter and help socialize the animals at the Humane Society of the Verde Valley shelter or pack produce or perform other chores as needed for Manzanita Outreach.
“’Mitzvah’ means commandment in Hebrew, but it has come to mean ‘good deed,’” said JCSVV Rabbi Alicia Magal. “We are pleased to bring back Mitzvah Day, a spirit-led day of service, and give the people of Sedona and the Verde Valley the opportunity to perform good deeds.”
To volunteer, just go to the jcsvv.org home page and click the link in the Mitzvah Day section at the bottom, or go to “Get Involved/Social Action.” Questions? Email socialaction@jcsvv.
Information provided by JCSVV.