By Melissa Garcia

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Hundreds of workers are spending Christmas with their families thanks to a Jewish group donating their time.

The nonprofit organization JEWISHcolorado sent out hundreds of volunteers Tuesday to more than a dozen hospitals, retirement centers and community projects around the Denver metro area.

Shalom Park, a senior living facility in Aurora, was one of 14 sites that received assistance.

Thirty Shalom employees were able to take the holiday off.

(credit – CBS4)

Dolores Pugh, who has lived at the center for four years, enjoyed Christmas playing games led by the volunteers.

She said that the 25 visitors made her holiday bright.

“They’re wonderful,” Pugh told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia

(credit – CBS4)

Jay Strear, a Rabbi and volunteer with JEWISHColorado said “Christmas Mitzvah” is an annual tradition. Close to 500 people fill in for workers to provide relief every Christmas. The 2018 holiday marks the project’s 23rd year in operation.

“On a day in which the non-Jewish world is celebrating the most holy day, it’s an opportunity for us to… uplift others’ day of celebration,” Strear said.

(credit – CBS4)

“It’s very important (for staff) to have today off to be with their family,” said Marc Penner, C.E.O. of Shalom Park. “We are so blessed to have all of these volunteers here today.”

“They’re fun, and I enjoy them,” Pugh added.


Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to


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