Last March, 40 volunteers at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington got together, assembly-line style, and transformed 4,000 slices of cheese and 125 loaves of bread into 1,000 sandwiches for the homeless.

Good Deeds Day 2013It took just two hours to get the job done, and volunteers had a blast. Just as riveting as the service, however, was the fact that similar projects were happening all over the globe at the very same time as part of the annual Good Deeds Day, an international effort to promote volunteerism around the world.

With the mantra “that every single person can do something good, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively change the world,” the annual celebration of good deeds was created in 2007 by businesswoman and philanthropist Shari Arison as a global opportunity for everyday people to volunteer in their communities

The greater Washington Jewish community – last year’s largest American Good Deeds Day locale – will once again join thousands around the world on March 10 this year, with hunger-fighting efforts spanning all facets of food consumption, from planting to packing, making lunches to preparing and serving hot meals.

Among the new volunteer sites and opportunities this year is Common Good City Farm, a one-time DC baseball field turned urban farm that helps meet the nutritional needs of the District’s low-income residents. Good Deeds Day volunteers will help prepare the farm for spring planting through bed preparation and compost processing.

One ambitious goal for the day is to break the world record for making sandwiches! This will happen at the DCJCC, 16th and Q Streets, from 10 am to 2 pm. Participants in this and all events are asked to pre-register here.

Good Deeds Day Present Suit

Volunteer opportunities (which include many non-food-related activities) are as diverse as volunteers themselves And while most of the 50-plus organizations involved in this year’s Good Deeds Day are Jewish, you definitely don’t need to be Jewish to join in the do-gooding.

Regardless of your background or how you choose to participate, the event presents a great opportunity to dip a toe into world of volunteering, something many of us aspire to do, but hesitate to jump into due to time constraints.

“People are very busy in this community,” says Sam Rosenbaum, volunteer coordinator for The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. “To be able to come out and volunteer on one day, it’s attractive to people. It’s a good way to get out there and volunteer when you may not be able to make a regular commitment.”

Cindy Anapolsky loved participating in last year’s Good Deeds Day so much the Potomac resident signed her family up again as soon as she received an email about it. Her children, ages 12 and 8, were part of last year’s sandwich-making line and loved every minute of it. Anapolsky, an avid volunteer herself, reveled in the fact that her children were learning to see beyond their own circumstances into the lives of the less fortunate.

“It was great to feel part of a community,” she says. “You’re all there for the same purpose. We can’t wait to do it again.”

Watch the Good Deeds Day video for more information.

Interesting in participating in Good Deeds Day? Browse volunteer projects and register here. Questions? Email info@jconnect.org