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Tenth Community Mitzvah Day

Sunday, November 18 - 8:30 am

A Day of Service for Gainesville 

The Jewish Council of North Central Florida, in partnership with Congregation B'nai Israel, Temple Shir Shalom, The Lubavitch-Chabad Jewish Student & Community Center, The Interfaith Encounter Association, UF Hillel, and many Gainesville area organizations, invites you to join us for the Tenth Community Mitzvah Day! 

Below is the list of Mitzvah Day projects. Click on the hyperlink (in blue) for the project that you wish to volunteer for. Please register for only one activity. Projects have specific registration numbers to accommodate the needs and limitations of each site. If you are able, feel free to donate supplies needed for as many projects as you would like to support! In many cases, gently used clothing, non-perishable food and other items are critical! 

Please contact the JCNCF office at 352.371.3846 or with any questions about Mitzvah Day. 

Program Schedule:

  • 8:30 Registration & Breakfast at Lubavitch Chabad Jewish Student Center  
  • Welcome from Virginia Brissette Hirshik, JCNCF President & CEO
  • Guest Speakers Mayor Lauren Poe & City Manager Anthony Lyons
  • 9:45 Depart to Projects

Please note that some off-site projects have earlier start times. Please refer to the sign up for each project for full details.

Special Drives and Supplies Needed for Mitzvah Day

Drop off the items below at any Mitzvah Day project location and we will get them to their designated charities! Please note that household goods should  be dropped off at the JCNCF office ONLY.

Blood Drive for LifeSouth Blood Bank: LifeSouth Community Blood Centers supplies 100% of the blood products to all of the hospitals in Gainesville and the surrounding communities. Blood donors can save up to three lives with one donation. Even though most people will either need blood or know someone who needs blood some time in their life, only 5% percent of the population that is eligible to donate blood actually donates! Blood donations decline during the holiday season so your donation at this time will help ensure that the local hospitals have a safe supply of blood for your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Please visit LifeSouth Community Blood Center at 1221 NW 13th Street and 4039 Newberry Road.

Bread of the Mighty Food Bank: Please donate any non-perishable items for the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday. Here is a list of foods currently being sought: Boxed Stuffing Mix (like Stovetop), Instant Mashed Potatoes in boxes or packets, Jars of Turkey Gravy or Dried Gravy Mix Packets, Canned Yams, Cranberry Sauce, Canned Veggies (green beans, corn, peas), Cornbread Mix, Canned Pumpkin or Fruit Pie Filling, Pie Crust Mix, Salt and Pepper.

Winter Clothing and Bedding for Grace Marketplace: Seeking winter clothing (jackets, sweatshirts, socks, sweatpants, warm hats, gloves, scarves) and comforters/quilts for cold winter nights. Many people live outside of Grace Marketplace within Dignity Village and need these items to stay warm through the cold nights.

Matilde’s Mentionables: As part of CBI Sisterhood’s mitzvah project this year, they are collecting women’s toiletries. Specifically, all feminine hygiene products to donate to local women’s shelters. This mitzvah project comes directly from the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism initiative Matilde’s Mentionables.

Household Goods: Family Promise of Gainesville provides homeless children and their families with compassionate care. They are in need of new or gently used mattresses, dressers, sofas, tables and chair. In addition, families also need all the necessary items for setting up a kitchen including  microwaves, coffee pots, pots and pans, skillets, baking sheets, oven mits and kitchen towels, sets of plates, bowls, and glasses. Silverware sets, baking dishes, kitchen utensils, measuring cups, can or bottle openers. If you have furniture or kitchen items that you wish to donate, please call the JCNCF office at 352.371.3746.

Toiletries: Small and travel sized toiletry items such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, tooth paste, mouth wash. insect repellent, sunscreen.

Project Sponsored by the Interfaith Encounter Association

The Interfaith Encounter Association will collect items to be assembled into Blessing Bags to be donated to Project Downtown for distribution to Gainesville’s homeless, indigent and disadvantaged citizens.

Participants of this project are asked to donate items to be used for the Blessing Bags.

Team Leader: Elinor Robin -

Click HERE to sign up 


Projects at Lubavitch-Chabad (2021 NW 5th Avenue, 32603) 

Thanksgiving Smiles: Students will bake, cook and prepare with love for Thanksgiving Smiles. During the holiday season, many senior citizens are alone and don’t have family to visit with them or share and prepare a holiday meal. Help us bring joy, hope and warmth to local senior citizens for Thanksgiving. 

For more information and to help provide for Thanksgiving Smiles, contact Rabbi Berl

  • Team Leader: TBA
  • Supplies needed: 

Colel Chabad Israel: We are partnering with fraternities and sororities to help raise money and awareness for Colel Chabad Israel. Colel Chabad Israel makes sure Israel's most vulnerable widows, orphans and indigent elderly, enjoy food security every single day. Established in 1788 Colel Chabad has operated without interruption ever since.  It is the oldest continuously operating Tzedakah network in Israel. The mission of Colel Chabad remains unchanged since its founding – to provide meaningful material help - especially food - to the poorest Jews living in the Holy Land, and to do so without compromising their pride and dignity. Colel Chabad helps those in need regardless of their age, gender, background or degree of religious observance. For more information and to help fight hunger & poverty in Israel today and contribute to this project, contact Rabbi Berl – all donations are tax-deductible.


JCNCF Sponsored Projects

Adopt-a-Street Clean Up: Andrew Hirshik and his team will be cleaning up NW 8th between 13th and 22nd Streets. Necessary equipment, supplies and water will be provided.

  • Team Leader: Andrew Hirshik -
  • Click HERE to sign up.

Cooking Breakfast at GRACE Marketplace: Volunteers will help to prepare and serve breakfast at Grace Marketplace, a center for services for the homeless at 3055 NE 28th Ave.  Volunteers must be at least 14 years old, and minor volunteers must be accompanied by an adult. Upon signing up, more information will be sent. 

*Please note, this project runs from 8:45-12:00, so volunteers will not be able to attend the opening breakfast. Volunteers will meet at GRACE Marketplace. 

Team Leader - Eloise Harman -

  • Click HERE to sign up.

Cooking Breakfast at the Ronald McDonald House: Volunteers will cook a nutritious breakfast for the children and families at the Ronald McDonald House.(1600 SW 14th Street, Gainesville, FL 32608). 

  • Team Leader: Marcia Storch -  
  • Supplies Needed: Breakfast essentials will be provided by Ronald McDonald House. Donations of additional breakfast times are welcome.
  • Team Leader: Marcia Storch -  
  • Click HERE to sign up.

Cleaning at Ronald McDonald House: Volunteers will help with the daily cleaning and chores needed to keep Ronald McDonald house in good shape for the families who stay there while their children are undergoing medical procedures

  • Team Leader: Marcia Storch -  
  • Click HERE to sign up.

Create No-bake Doggie Treats or Chew Toys for Shelter Dogs: The project will be held at Oak Hammock. Together we will assist the residents in either creating a freezable made from scratch dog treat, or a braided chew toy. The goodies will be delivered to St. Francis Pet Care Facility and the Alachua Humane Society. Please note that these projects will be held in the afternoon on Mitzvah Day. 

  • Team Leader: This project needs a team leader! 
  • Click HERE to sign up. 

Family Friendly Projects at the Lubavitch-Chabad Community Center: Volunteers will have an opportunity to participate in one or more of the family friendly activities held at the Chabad House.

  • Make PB&J sandwiches to be donated to Project Downtown, which serves hot meals every Saturday and Sunday at City Hall on University Avenue at 1 PM.
  • Make trail mix bags to be donated to the Meals on Wheels program at the Senior Recreation Center. 
  • Count Buttons for B's Buttons. B's Buttons is a project to collect 1.5 milion buttons to create a memorial for the children who perished in the Holocaust.
  • Writing notes of condolence and support to the Pittsburgh Jewish community. 
  • Team Leader: This project needs a team leader! 
  • Click HERE to sgn up

Sorting Clothing at Temple Shir Shalom: Volunteers will sort clothing according to the needs of several area charities: ARC, Tacachale, Displaced Homemakers, Grace Marketplace, Pace, and the Helping Hands Clinic. All volunteers are encouraged to contribute to this project and may drop off their clothing donations on Mitzvah Day or before.

  • Team Leader: Sharon Hirshik - &                                Kim Feigenbaum -
  • Specific clothing items needed: Men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, shoes, purses, new and used undershirts and t-shirts of all sizes, new and used socks, collared shirts, khaki pants teenage boys and young me, women’s clothing for job interviews and work, school uniform appropriate clothes for children and teenagers.
  • Click HERE to sign up.


Projects at Congregation B'nai Israel (3830 NW 16th Blvd. 32605)

Casserole Brigade 

Volunteers will make casseroles for St. Francis House, GRACE Marketplace, and Helping Hands Clinic. Even if you are not volunteering for this project, please consider donating supplies. Click the link below for a list of needed supplies.

  • Team Leader: Jill Tomar  - 
  • Click HERE to sign up

Cemetery Cleanup

The B’nai Israel Cemetery cleanup will consist of helping to rake up the perimeter inside the cemetery, and possibly someone with a power washer to clean up some of the older tombstones, which date back to the 1870's. We encourage people to bring their own rakes (or leaf-blowers) as well as weed eaters, and hedge clippers. Leaf bags will be provided. We will mainly focus on the perimeter inside the wall, since it is full of leaves and other trash. 

Team Leader: Ralph Lowenstein - 

Click HERE to sign up 

Chavaya (Kindergarten - 7th grade) 

This year, Chavaya students will be guided by a guest instructor from the B'nai Israel knitting circle for a special doll-making project.  Chavaya students will be taught to sew dolls for sick children or toys for dogs at the Alachua County Humane Society. 

  • Team Leader: Shauna Sikron -

Grounds Clean-Up

We invite adults to help  with general maintenance and upkeep of our property.  This may include painting door frames, cleaning pavement, and outdoor clean-up.

  • Team Leaders: Darryl Steinhauser -                    & Aaron Snook  -
  • Click HERE to sign up.

No-sew Blankets for PJ Library Overnight Bags:

Gainesville Jewish youth in grades 6-12 will assist PJ Library with their mitzvah project by creating no-sew blankets for their overnight bags for children in need. We will be donating these bags to Peaceful Paths for children and moms who have been victims of domestic violence. No-sew blankets consist of 2 pieces of fabric and tying them together along the edges, creating a very cozy soft product.

  • Team Leader: Bekah Ford -
  • Click HERE to sign up


PJ Library Project at Congregation B'nai Israel

PJ Library Overnight Bags for Children: 

PJ Library will assemble overnight bags for children in need. Each bag will include a toothbrush, toothpaste, a book, and a no sew blanket. We will be donating these bags to Peaceful Paths for children and moms who have been victims of domestic violence. The parents and children of PJ Library NCFL will be putting together the bags and including a personalized nametag and card for each child.


Project at Hillel (2020 W University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32603

UF Hillel will be having a canned food drive from October 18 through November 14. All donations will be going to UF's Field and Fork Pantry. Please check the Field and Fork Pantry wishlist by clicking HERE.

For more information contact Emily Snider at



Projects Sponsored by Temple Shir Shalom (3855 NW 8th Avenue, 32605) 

Habitat for Humanity Build:  Volunteers will be working to help construct a safe and affordable house alongside the future owners of the property. No special skills are needed, and no need to bring tools or materials.  Lunch and water will be provided.  Minimum age is 16.  Upon signing up, more information and a volunteer form will be sent.  *Please note, this project runs from 8:30-2:30, so volunteers will not be able to attend the opening breakfast.

  • Team Leader: Nathan Parks -
  • Click HERE to sign up 

Pet Care Supply Packaging: Volunteers will take large bags of dog and cat food and distribute them down into quart and gallon sized bags to be donated to the St. Francis House Pet Care Clinic, which provides free and low cost veterinary care for Gainesville's indigent population.  

  • Team Leader: Myrna Neims -
  • Supplies needed: dog food, cat food, treats, leashes, collars, flea control, toys, towels, gallon and quart sized plastic ziplock bags.
  • Click HERE to sign up.