Prime Minister David Cameron urges Camden residents to join Mitzvah Day army
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
An army of volunteers across north London is set to join tens of thousands of people across the world as the annual Mitzvah Day gets underway on Sunday.
The Jewish charity’s day of social action will see more than 35,000 people from 500 charities, synagogues, community organisations, schools and youth groups donate their time to worthy causes in nearly every major town and city across the UK.
In its sixth year, the UK-born initiative has this year received the backing of prime minister David Cameron, Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
Its continued success in urging people to donate time rather than money has also seen the concept spread from the charity’s offices in Finchley Road to 20 countries.
Encouraging people to support Mitzvah Day, prime minister Mr Cameron said: “Mitzvah Day is a wonderful example of how people from all faiths and backgrounds join together for the shared purpose of a greater good.
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“Ordinary people go out and do extraordinary things to help the vulnerable or those in need.
“Days like this show that while there is tragedy and suffering in our world, there is also great kindness and understanding.”
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This year there is more variety than ever in the projects on offer.
Green-fingered enthusiasts will get the chance to feed the animals at Kentish Town City Farm or do some community gardening at the JW3 centre; office workers can donate their lunch to the homeless as part of the Give Away Your Lunch initiative; and young mothers can bring some cheer with their newborns to elderly residents of care homes across Hampstead as part of Mitzvah Mummies.
At Golders Green Synagogue in Dunstan Road, some seven projects will be taking place, from pupils at the nearby Rimon School planting bulbs for seniors to NHS nurses being on hand to receive blood donors.
Samantha Vaughn, organiser at Golders Green Synagogue, said: “Mitzvah Day is a great way of getting people from all generations mixing together in some community action.
“The involvement of schools is fantastic as well, as it means people get introduced to the benefits of volunteering from an early age – something that will hopefully stay with them into adulthood.”
And as partners of Mitzvah Day, the Ham&High will be making its own contribution.
Reporters will spend the afternoon at Hammerson House Care Home in Bishops Avenue, Hampstead, holding a Sunday papers-style event with residents discussing the week’s news from the local area.
* For a full list of projects in your area, visit mitzvahday.org.uk.