How can we use our strengths and interests to do good?

Joey loves to collect things (marbles, dreidels, race cars) so much that they threaten to take over the space in his bedroom. And while the giant box from the new dishwasher is fun (sometimes it’s a spaceship!), there’s nowhere to store it and soon his mother says it has to go.

People collect to help others

It isn’t until Joey’s standing at the grocery check out with his mother, bemoaning his gigantic box bound for the recycling truck, that he spots an even bigger box and sees that it’s filled with food for the hungry. With the help of his parents, friends, and teacher, soon Joey has a plan to save his box and use his love of collecting to do a big mitzvah.

What is tzedakah?

While many people assume the definition of tzedakah is charity, in truth it means “righteousness.” This teaches us that giving to others is the proper and moral thing to do. Most associate tzedakah with dropping coins in a pushke, or tzedakah box, but tzedakah can take many forms, from donating actual items, to donating time, skills, and talents.

What can children do?

Brainstorm all the ways you can help others.

  • Collect and donate old toys, books, and clothes your family no longer uses
  • visit residents at a nursing home
  • draw pictures and write letters to people in need of a kind word
  • cook a meal for a friend who is not well
  • and so much more!

Notice all of the collection boxes in your community

There are boxes for:

  •  food
  • mittens
  • books
  • sports equipment
  • toys
  • diapers
  • winter coats

(What can YOU donate?)


  • Take pictures of various collection boxes in your community. Make double copies and play Collection Box Concentration
  • Start your own collection drive. As a class, decide what to collect, how to spread the word, and where to donate
  • View pictures of tzedakah boxes over the centuries and then decorate your own
  • Ask children to identify their own special talents and strengths that could be used to help others. Singing. Reading books to others. Baking.
  • Make a list!
  • Have fun and celebrate students’ collections. Host a collection fair where each student brings in several pieces from their collections (rocks, seashells, race cars, marbles, etc). Set up displays and invite students and parents to visit each one and learn about what makes them special