- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Jane Glickman is Jewish, and yet Christmas Day is one of her favorite days of the year.

“We always spend the day at Mother Dear’s Community Center helping people in need,” Ms. Glickman says. “It feels good to do good.”

Tomorrow will be no exception.

Ms. Glickman and her 15-year-old son, Adam Sacks, will be at Mother Dear’s, a faith-based community outreach group on Florida Avenue in Northwest, packing lunches and serving turkey with all the fixings to hundreds of people.

They are not alone in wanting to spread Christmas cheer among needy city residents, as up to 1,000 volunteers have been lined up by the Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service at the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center to serve about 10,000 needy residents in various shelters and senior homes tomorrow.

Opportunities range from packing lunches to painting shelters, from delivering meals to passing out gifts.

“We get people from all walks of life, and there really is something for everyone,” says Erica Steen, director for the Cafritz Center. “Families often enjoy visiting shelters and passing out gifts.”

In that setting, Ms. Steen says, children can see a direct outcome of their volunteerism: a smile on someone’s face.

“It’s really nice for kids to realize that they make a difference in someone’s life,” she says.

The center also will accept donations of new and used items today and tomorrow. High-demand items include toiletries, gloves, socks, hats and scarves, she says.

Volunteering opportunities are organized in shifts, with each shift running two to four hours.

“We usually stay for a couple of shifts,” says Ms. Glickman, who is in her seventh year of Christmas Day volunteering.

She’s usually accompanied by her son and her daughter, Liz Glickman, 17, who is unable to attend this year. Ms. Glickman says the Dec. 25 experience has made a significant and lasting impression on her children.

Liz, for example, took it upon herself to volunteer with Mother Dear’s summer camp math program last summer, her mother says. Also, in her college application essays, Liz wrote about wanting “to help to make a difference for good in the world,” Ms. Glickman says.

Her children, Ms. Glickman says, have learned that on this globe, the well-being of one is intertwined with the well-being of all.

“We’re not in this world just for ourselves,” she says.

c For more information, visit www.washingtondcjcc.org/volunteer or call 202/777-3246.

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