Planning a bar or bat mitzvah takes many steps — booking a venue, choosing a theme, deciding on invitations, learning the Torah portion, figuring out the décor and more. Meanwhile, kids are expected to complete mitzvah projects.

Jewish Family & Career Services can help b’nai mitzvot find meaningful mitzvah projects.

Bar mitzvah Andrew Krause and sister Stephanie stock the shelves at the JF&CS Kosher Food Pantry.

Bar mitzvah Andrew Krause and sister Stephanie stock the shelves at the JF&CS Kosher Food Pantry.

With nearly 40 programs and services, JF&CS has many opportunities for students to perform a mitzvah.

Sheri Schwartz, the engagement coordinator at JF&CS, gets calls weekly from parents looking for mitzvah projects for their children. Her list of projects ranges from creating birthday and get-well cards for older adults to doing yardwork for JF&CS clients and from visiting and singing to Holocaust survivors at Café Europa to collecting toys and games for children in need.

Andrew Krause, who recently celebrated his bar mitzvah, chose to help with the JF&CS Kosher Food Pantry for his mitzvah project.

“It made me really happy to help out people who are in need,” Andrew said.

First, he raised money from family and friends. Then he and his family shopped for needed items. Finally, they stocked the kosher pantry shelves.

“Choosing the Kosher Food Pantry as our project was an amazing experience. We were able to get the whole family involved, learn about kosher food and teach our kids the importance of giving back to the community,” said Michelle Krause, Andrew’s mom.

Andrew and family have visited the pantry twice to stock the shelves and plan to continue doing so. His grandmother offered to match any amount Andrew raises.

“We have already started buying more food to donate,” Michelle Krause said.

She enjoyed the chance to learn about kosher food and show her kids how to stretch a dollar. She also was able to see a direct impact. “We knew we were directly helping people in need. We packed bags for clients and had to choose specific foods for their circumstances. If someone is living out of their car, they can’t cook pasta.”

For more information about choosing a mitzvah project, contact Sheri Schwartz at shschwartz@jfcs-atlanta.org.