At this time of the year, many of us are thinking about the kinds of gifts we will get for our loved ones. Some gifts will be expensive and some will be less expensive. Many will be items hand-made with lots of love.
But what if you don't have money to buy gifts? And what if you aren't "gifted" enough to make something pretty and useful for those you love?
Not to worry. You can give the gift of caring.
Thanks to the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, there is a program where volunteers can give time to several South Florida causes during the holiday season. You can volunteer through the Fifth Annual Greater Miami Jewish Federation Jewish volunteer Center's "Season of Doing" program.
According to a press release, the program was originally created to mobilize Jewish volunteers on Dec. 25. But this year, it has been expanded to a 10-day period, with a larger number of venues for participation.
"This is one of our most highly anticipated annual events and has attracted an amazing response from the Jewish community, during the past four years, with nearly 500 people joining in each holiday season," said Shana Lewinger Russo, chair of the Jewish Volunteer Center. "There is something incredibly uplifting and meaningful about serving other during this special time of the year."
This year, the program will begin on Dec. 16 and will end on Dec. 25. Volunteers will serve clients at South Florida social service agencies and patients at local health facilities to include, Aventura Hospital, Chapman partnership for the Homeless, CHARLEE House, Holtz Children's Hospital, Lotus House, Miami Children's Hospital, Miami Rescue Mission, Ronald McDonald House and The Salvation Army.
Although the program is sponsored by the Jewish Federation, you don't have to be Jewish to be a volunteer. According to a press release, volunteers of all ages are invited to participate in family-friendly activities that include preparing and serving meals, distributing toys, visiting sick patients, and even knitting baby hats and booties.
Last year 2,300 volunteers donated 9,200 volunteer-hours to community organizations through the Jewish Volunteer Center. That equals about $200,000 in paid time.
If you think this is something you and your family would love to do, you may call Laura Guren Rodriguez, JVC director at 786-866-8680 for more information,. You may also email, Volunteer@JewishMiami.org.
Music lovers, you will want to attend this FREE concert, "Bridging Classics of the Past with Classics of the Future," to be conducted by Dr. Nelson Hall at 4 p.m. on Dec. 14 at Bethany Seventh Day Adventist Church, 2500 NW 50th St.
The concert will feature Undivided, an a capella vocal band made up of Richard Aponte, baritone; Ruben Aponte, first tenor; Melvinsky Ramirez, bass; Israel Sierra, first tenor, Braulio Rivera, second tenor, and Joshua Ortiz, second tenor. The group will break the language barrier by performing in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
The group has had over 15 years of musical skills, four albums, a Latin Grammy nomination, six CARA nominations and several other awards. they have sold thousands of records worldwide.
Also featured will be the the 2013 Community Miami Messiah Mass Choir and Orchestra performing Handel's "Messiah".
This is the third annual concert to be performed in the Brownsville/Liberty City area.
Youth groups from the community, schools and churches are encouraged to be a part of the audience and email firstname.lastname@example.org. if you plan to attend so your group can be acknowledged at the concert. Or, call Enid Pinkney at 305-638-5800.
The Greater Miami Symphonic Band will celebrate the holiday season with two concerts.
The first one, a Family Holiday Concert, will be at 3 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the Pinecrest Gardens Banyan Bowl, 11000 SW 57th Ave. Robert Longfield will conduct .
The second concert — A Celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah — at 8 p.m. on Dec. 17 at Gusman Concert Hall at the University of Miami, 1314 Miller Dr. in Coral Gables.
All tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students and are available in advance at www.GMSB.org or at the box office one hour prior to the performance.
Music at St. Johns
St. John's on the Lake and Arts at St. Johns will present its Third Annual Holiday Concert at 2 p.m. today at St. John's on the Lake Church, 4760 Pine Tree Dr. in Miami Beach.
The music will include traditional as well as contemporary holiday favorites. The concert is free, but donations are welcomed.