A volunteering tradition for everyone

Volunteers sing Christmas carols as needy people line up for Christmas dinner outside the Los Angeles Mission

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Steve Chiotakis: Whatever your Christmas plan today -- or even if you don't celebrate Christmas -- there is one tradition in Washington where everyone can contribute. Here's Marketplace's Steve Henn.


Steve Henn: Today, just about a 1,000 volunteers will pour into the D.C. JCC, Washington's Jewish Community Center on 16th Street. In this neighborhood, this day of volunteerism has become a great Jewish Christmas tradition -- right up there with the classics like:

Erica Steen: Going to a movie, eating Chinese food and spending time with family.

But Erica Steen says her volunteers come from pretty much every ethnicity and faith you can imagine. Today, they'll give blood, entertain children at local shelters, prepare meals for soup kitchens and deliver donated gifts.

Yesterday, Julie Cantor Weinberg and her son, Ben, been spent the morning wrapping some of those presents.

Julie Cantor Weinberg: I wanted to take my son, so he learned that the holidays weren't just about getting gifts but also about giving as well.

Cantor Wienberg hopes Ben will takes something away from this experience. Sixteen years ago, she took away her future husband. The couple met here, sorting clothes for the homeless on December 25.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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