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Volunteers with JEWISHcolorado work on Christmas to give others the day off

Hundreds of people volunteered at nonprofits across the state so that employees who celebrated Christmas could spend time with family

LITTLETON, Colo. — For many, Christmas is a time to gather with family and celebrate together. But for those who don’t observe the holiday, it’s an opportunity to give back and allow others to enjoy their day.

Hundreds of volunteers with JEWISHcolorado worked with nonprofits across the state on Christmas to give employees who observe the holiday the opportunity to celebrate with their families.

One of those nonprofits was Zuma Rescue Ranch in Littleton. The ranch is home to dozens of horses that have been rescued and rehabilitated. They need to be taken care of all year round, which usually means having staff on hand all year round.

Melissa Rapp and her family volunteered to help clean the horse stalls and feed the animals. 

"It’s just a nice way for people in the Jewish community to give back on a day that we don’t typically celebrate," said Rapp. "It’s just nice to be able to share a little kindness. If we do nothing else, we are kind. That’s really important to us."

More than 300 volunteers participated in helping others this week with JEWISHcolorado. The organization also passed out care kits to communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and frontline health-care workers.

RELATED: Campaign provides 500 meals for people experiencing food insecurity over the holidays

Susan Chayet helped organize the volunteers with JEWISHcolorado. It’s the 25th year the organization has held the Christmas Mitzvah, doing good deeds in the community.

"It’s acts of kindness without expecting anything in return. Just to be kind for the sake of being kind," said Chayet. "This year and every year it’s so important to be able to give back. Because so many people have been challenged and been hurting this year, I think it does mean more to everyone."

On a Christmas day with weather as perfect as this one, a day of working hard is well worth it when someone else gets the day off.

"I know everyone likes a white Christmas but when it’s almost 60 degrees and you’re working outside, it’s fantastic," said Rapp. "It just gives people who celebrate Christmas an opportunity to have less staff at places like Zuma that has to be staffed all the time."

RELATED: Denver was warmer than Miami on Christmas Day