Mitzvah Projects

Athletes Help Out in the Community

Community service is an essential part of the JCC Maccabi Games whether it is JCC Cares Day or projects leading up to the Games. That’s why two groups of Columbus JCC Maccabi athletes volunteered for a couple of our Mitzvah Projects earlier this month.

Maccabi CaresThe first group volunteered at Creekside at the Village, playing games and visiting with the residents. “It felt good interacting with older people and seeing them smile,” said volunteer and Maccabi athlete Will Meyer.

“They are good kids and they seemed to enjoy interacting with the residents and playing games with them,” says adult volunteer and Boys Basketball Coach Matthew Topolosky. “Some of the boys learned how to play Rummikub and really enjoyed it. Most of the boys told me they had fun and would go back any time.”

The second group helped wrap up the  book drive. Maccabi participants and JCC families brought books to the Center to be donated to the Reach Out and Read Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “We all packaged and wrapped books for kids in the hospital,” says volunteer and athlete Ethan Weiser. “Along with the books, we wrote get well cards and cards of encouragement. It was quite fun to do because we all knew it was something that was going to a good cause.” Maccabi Cares2

Overall the athletes had a good time, bonded with their team members, and took away some meaningful lessons from the experience. Topolosky says that volunteer projects like this are important to the JCC Maccabi Games experience: “The younger generation needs to be more sensitive to the needs of others in our community, whether it is the elderly, poor or any other group.”

Parent volunteer Laura Weiser adds, “I see it as understanding that no matter how many teams we make, we are all on team Columbus and part of a broader community.”

Maccabi Cares3Athletes and the entire community can continue to help serve by collecting other items to send in care packages to Lone Soldiers in Israel and young patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for the JCC Cares Tzedakah Projects.

Items to collect for Lone Soldiers include deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, Gatorade packets, energy bars, head lamps, and fleece jackets (black or olive green). Packages to Nationwide Children’s Hospital will include items such as craft kits, journals, word search puzzles, nail polish, lotions, model cars, and playing cards.

Drop off sites will be at JCC North, across from the pre-school office at JCC New Albany, and near the front desk at the JCC in Bexley until July 10. For more information, contact Yale Glinter at 614-559-6215 or

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