On Sunday 20th November Gratitude celebrated Mitzvah Day, the UK’s largest faith-led day of social action. A Mitzvah is a good deed and on Mitzvah day our wonderful neighborhood comes together to support the local community. Gratitude proudly celebrates Mitzvah Day together with all faiths and would like to share special moments of the wonderful community projects we delivered to mark this special time in our calendar.
Sowing the Seeds of Love
Throughout the week, across Borehamwood and Elstree, an estimated one thousand people from faith groups, children and teachers in local schools and community groups have been engaged in a mass flower-planting project for Mitzvah Day, coordinated by Gratitude and Garden On a Roll.
Bringing children, families and people of different backgrounds together, the “Sowing the Seeds of Love” project has sought to aid local biodiversity, improve the environment and counteract climate change. Volunteers have performed weeding and raking of open areas of land in strategic sites in preparation for bulb-planting.
Then on Mitzvah Day itself, Sunday 20th November, dozens gathered at Borehamwood mosque next to Maxwell Park to engage in mass planting of bulbs; including daffodils, narcissus, crocuses and other seasonal flowers.
In total, more than 3,000 bulbs were planted in an initiative that followed the success of last year’s Mitzvah Day in which local schoolchildren launched the Children’s Climate Emergency Manifesto and their pictures were put on display in a “Homage to Planet Earth” at Gratitude’s Hub on Elstree Way.
Among the participating organisations were St Michael and All Angels Church (CoE) and their gardening friends from Aycliffe Road Multi-Purpose Day Centre, Borehamwood Islamic Society, Hare Krishna Temple – Bhaktivedanta Manor, Yavneh College, St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School, Kenilworth Primary School, Saffron Green Primary School, Borehamwood & Elstree Synagogue and The Liberal Synagogue Elstree.
Local Christian, Hare Krishna, Muslim and Jewish communities took part in this interfaith initiative and some of their places of worship opened up their garden/wooded areas so that flowers could be planted.
Gratitude is proud to have sponsored this initiative, to be able to connect with the community through liaising with local schools, donating and distributing bulbs, and connecting with our partners to make everything possible and run smoothly.
John Carlisle from Gratitude said:
“The thing about spring that always fills me with joy, is when the bluebells, snowdrops and daffodils bloom. But hey, to achieve the harvest we need to plant the seeds. This bulb planting is a great metaphor; investing our time and energy in the future. The near future with the bulbs, and the future with the children. Gratitude is about paying it forward so let’s give our children, our communities, and our planet a chance by Sowing the seeds of love.”
Cllr Dan Ozarow who represents Borehamwood Kenilworth ward said:
“It has been thrilling to see so many people, especially children planting seeds and flowers in an effort to secure the future of our planet. The recent local tree-planting at home initiative from the Council has been important, but Sowing the Seeds of Love has an additional ingredient of inclusivity that makes it possible for anyone to join rather than only those who have private gardens to plant in.”
Rabbi Jeff Berger from The Eco Synagogue said:
’Sowing Seeds of Love’ seems like such a simple idea that anyone could have come up with it. But they didn’t. It took the visionary leaders of Gratitude and Cllr Dan Ozarow to dream up this heart-warming project. Volunteers planting 3,000 assorted flower bulbs to beautify our neighbourhood! Flowers in their varied colours and textures are also a metaphor for us. When we acknowledge and appreciate our diversity, we allow our humanity to flourish.
Congratulations for giving us all an opportunity to work together as a community, while celebrating our cultural and religious differences. This Mitzvah Day 2022 project brings together groups from the Borehamwood mosque, local churches and synagogues, those of no faith, and individuals of all backgrounds who would not likely meet under other circumstances.
The pride and satisfaction that comes from a job well-done has already led to lasting friendships now and for the future – the value of which in our town is immeasurable.”
Amir Choudhury, Borehamwood Islamic Society said:
“Our Mitzvah Day event was amazing and there was wonderful community spirit. This is the third year that we have participated, and it has grown bigger and bigger. It was so nice to see the children from our Muslim community planting flowers with kids from the wider community. Our mosque garden will look beautiful when the bulbs bloom in the spring.
Thanks to Gratitude and everyone who joined us today.”
Umber Alam a Teaching Assistant & R.E. Lead from Kenilworth Primary School,
“Together we can be the peace, love and hope we all dream of.”
Her son Isa (12) said:
“It made me proud to be part of such a diverse community. I can’t wait to see the flowers we planted bloom which will represent the whole community coming together to create something so beautiful. I was amazed to see even older people coming to help out they really inspired me to get involved in community projects. I can’t wait to see what Mitzvah day brings next year.”
Her daughter Zaynab (10) said:
“I especially loved the idea how planting flowers symbolise sowing seeds of peace and love in our community.”
Gratitude was proud to support this wonderful interfaith project to perform Mitzva together as a community and the result was totally inspirational. We would like to thank everyone involved in this special community project, especially Councilor Dan Ozarow and John Carlisle for their support, liaison, and ideas to bring this idea into fruition. Thanks to Mark Wheeler of Folia nursery, based in Well End, Borehamwood, who kindly donated dozens of bags of compost, topsoil and plant pots. Additionally, Anthony Henn from Garden On A Roll for his support with site surveying, consultations and bulb selections. Gratitude proudly donated over 3,000 bulbs for our green-fingered planters to sow and we look forward to enjoying our blooms in spring next year.
We were grateful to our team of wonderful Yavneh College students who kindly wrapped donations of toiletries for our hard-working NHS Staff at Barnet General Hospital.
Gratitude’s Creative Club knit comforting clothes and blankets for hospital in-patients
Gratitude’s Creative Club are a team of exceptional volunteers who work tirelessly to create wonderful, knitted products for donations to patients at our local hospitals.
In honour of Mitzvah day, the team delivered an astonishing 130 articles to Barnet General Hospital.
For our Newborn department, and children’s cancer ward we donated:
43 premature baby hats
28 premature baby blankets
11 baby bundles (blanket/hat/jumper/toy)
The following warm and comforting blankets and clothes were shared with patients in the elderly patients ward.
13 Twiddle muffs
19 Lap blankets / Single bed size blankets
Thank you to the wonderful team of Gratitude’s Creative Club angels who #KnitForLove.
Gratitude supports Mitzvah day to recognize the importance of work done by Britain’s faith communities to promote a loving attitude and help those in society who need it and would like to thank all those who were involved for their support and commitment to this wonderful initiative.
Written by Carolyne Klein