Merry Mitzvah 2009

Editor’s note: As has become tradition in the Louisville Jewish community, Amy Benovitz organized a small army of volunteers who volunteered at agencies across the city throughout the Christmas season for Merry Mitzvah 2009. The following is her report.

by Amy Benovitz

A heartfelt thank you from the agencies (and me) who appreciated the care and concern you showed by volunteering. Whether you served food, donated warm clothes (or checks) or made someone smile: THANK YOU!

Every option was full! During Merry Mitzvah 2009 we built and dedicated our eighth Habitat for Humanity Home and provided gifts and meals at several Wellspring Mental Health facilities.

We served meals and mingled with clients of Maryhurst Girls Home, the Ronald McDonald House, Cathedral of the Assumption Soup Kitchen, Center for Women and Families and St. Vincent DePaul Open Hand Kitchen. We prepared 500 sandwiches for clients at St Vincent DePaul’s Osnaman Center and organized 330 food baskets for clients involved with Schuhman Center of St Martin of Tours.

We entertained at Four Courts Senior Center, the Home of the Innocents and the Volunteers of America Family Shelter. We donated cookies to the Cathedral of the Assumption Soup Kitchen and wrapped presents at Brooklawn Children’s Home.

Eight carloads of warm coats, sweaters, gloves were donated and delivered to several agencies including Coalition for the Homeless, Mattie’s House, Catholic Charities Refuge Ministries Program, Schuhman Center and Volunteers of America Family Shelter.

Several of these agencies help men who live outside. In fact the day I delivered to Coalition for the Homeless, an “outside” gentleman was thrilled with the sweatshirt and new socks I had just delivered and he promised to share his package of socks with the other men in his “camp.” People are living outside and your donations help keep them warm. Since I start delivering in November when the weather changes our donations are always snapped up and arrive in the nick of time.

We also provided new clothes and gifts for Jewish children through Hannukah Helpers and there has been a big increase in the number of Jewish families needing assistance this year.

Every year I advertise the need to adopt entire families of new community members through the Catholic Charities Refugee Ministry. I was thrilled to get a call from Leah Laber about adopting a family and she and her friend provided wonderful gifts (and coats) for the Ramirez family, which were greatly appreciated.

The Temple religious school children donated over 100 gloves, blankets, caps and new underwear for children at this agency as well. Despite its name, Catholic Charities is a federally funded refugee ministry that provides many services for new Americans.


I especially appreciated the team leaders who coordinated volunteers for their projects: Elaine Cummings, Margie Kommor, Beth Klein, Janet Levitan, Amy Shir, Marcy Rosengarten.


Special thanks to donors of checks, coats and blankets. Special thanks to Ms. Charlene’s class at The Temple Pre-School who donated canned goods for JFCS food pantry.

As usual many Jefferson County Judges and Court personal also participate in Merry Mitzvah, so special thanks to Judges Judy Bartholomew, Sheila Collins, Deborah DeWeese, and Barry Willett and family and Mental Inquest Court.

The agencies requesting help also need volunteers the other 364 days a year. You can call them directly or call me to continue making a difference in our community. “Need has no season and every agency can use YOU any day.” Call Amy Benovitz, 425-0373, to learn how you can join the following list of Merry Mitzvah 2009 volunteers.

Sorry if I left anyone out. Many individuals volunteered for Habitat as well as Merry Mitzvah but they are only listed once.

The 2009 Merry Mitzvah volunteers were: Karen Abrams, Jeff, Mallory and Andrea Glazer; Francis and Becca Balf and SHORTY (Temple Shalom’s youth group); Margo Barr; Judge Judy Bartholomew; Amy, Lee, Nancy and Emily Benovitz; Madeline Bernstein; Emma and Gary Biggs and Judy Rosenberg; Bonnie Bizer; Nancy Blodgett; and Shellie Branson.

Also, Judge Sheila Collins; Elaine Cummings; Lynda Daponte; Judge Debbie DeWeese; Michelle and Elana Elisbert; Julie and Jim Ensign family; Lois and Phil Flarsheim; Debbie Freidman; Linda Fuchs; Fred Garon; Myra Garon; Aly Goldberg ; Barbara Goldberg; Toni Goldman; Sue Goodman; Karen Gordon; and Debbie and Rick Greenberg and family.

And, Terry Herman; Chris Hirsch; Bruce Holzman and family; Elaine Karrel and family; Beth, Chelsea, Casey, Richard Klein; Tish Klein; Laura Koby; Margie, Michael, Max, Madison, Michele Kommor and friends; Julie Lauderback; Lisa Leeser; Jennifer Leibson; Janet, Alan and Benjamin Levitan; and Joyce Lichtenstein.
And, Janet Meyer; Melissa and Madison Monsky; Margaret and Lou Moseson; Hallie, Brett, Adam, Audrey Nussbaum; Jennifer and Julia Payton; Jack Perlman; Nancy Renick and family; Eileen and Emily Renco; Marcy, Elliott, Jeff Rosengarten; and Maxine Rouben.

And, Adam and Matthew Satton; Marcia Schuster; Cindy and Matt Schwartz and family; Amy Shir and family; Jeff Slyn; Dana Sonnheim; Bernie Sweet; Tammy Switow; Temple Shalom Kol Shalom; Anna, Lucy and Barbara Waldrop; Jessica, Susan and Robert Waterman; Anita and Shelton Weber; Barry and Trinity Willett and family; and Esther Zegart.

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