Many families, including a number that I’ve worked with, choose to include some sort of social action, tzedakah or mitzvah component into their party. I love when families really want to focus on the meaning of the Bar or Bat Mitzvah! There are so many different ways to include charity as part of your celebration. Here are a few examples and ideas:
Lindsey collected book donations from her guests. She included a note in her invitation and asked guests to bring books to donate to a local charity. Boy, were her guests generous!
Donations could be anything from food to toys to clothes. Select an organization that is important to your child or that fits with the event’s theme and ask your guests to help!
Lilly and her family got creative with their centerpieces and donated the food to a local charity. A note from Lilly let guests know more about the centerpieces and where they were going.
In addition to collecting donations of books, Lindsey also donated books that were used in her centerpieces as table numbers and as the base for the balloons.
A local charity, I LOVE is Repeat Roses. They gather event flowers and donate them to senior citizens, hospice care patients and others who need a little bit of cheer. You need to contact them early as they can get very busy!
Make a Tzedakah (monetary) donation
Instead of or in addition to traditional favors, why not make a donation in honor of your guests. There are a few ways to do this; you can make a donation on behalf of your guests, you can help your guests to donate or have your child contribute a percentage of their gifts to a charity of their choosing.
If you make a donation on behalf of your guests, a framed photo or note at each place can let guests know. It’s wonderful when this note comes directly from your child to let them know why it is an important charity to them.
If you want to facilitate your guests making a donation, there are a number of websites that can help. One of my clients allowed their guests to select a charity to donate to through a company called TisBest. All of the adults received a gift card with instructions and were able to donate to a select group of charities.
If you want to help your child understand the true meaning of tzedakah, have them take some of the money that they receive as gifts and donate to a charity of their choosing. This allows them to make tzedakah part of their celebration and sets a great example for donating later in their lives.
Talk to your caterer to see what they do with the leftover food. Will they allow you to donate it to a local food bank? Find a local food bank or food rescue operation at Feeding America.
Let your guests know! Raising awareness for wonderful charities is another way to help. Your guests will feel good knowing that, in some small way, they’ve contributed to a good cause and you’ll feel good that you’ve included a mitzvah and social action in your Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration.