Giving to the Needy: A Purim Mitzvah

As your family gears up for hamantaschen-baking, mask-making, delivering gifts to friends (mishloach manot), feasting, and the costume parade, don’t forget the needy this Purim.


It is said that during 356 BCE in ancient Persia, the Jews were saved from disaster by brave Queen Esther and her uncle, Mordechai. To celebrate and give thanks for being saved, the Jews were directed to fulfill four Purim mitzvot, one of which is the giving of gifts to the poor (matanot l’evyonim).

Fulfilling the mitzvah of matanot l’evyonim can be as simple as dropping coins into a tzedakah box or making donations of food or clothing to a local pantry or shelter.

Giving gifts to the needy presents a fulfilling, hands-on Purim activity for PJ Library families of any size.


Giving to the Needy: A Purim Mitzvah


Looking for ways to give to the needy this Purim? Your local Jewish community organizations may have plans in the works. Give them a call and find out. In the meantime, take some inspiration from a few generosity-theme programs of North American PJ Library communities:

CANNED GOODS ‘ADMISSION’ — With a Purim party at the public library, PJ Library Ithaca collected food by “charging” canned goods as the cost of admission.

NOISY BOXED FOOD — Families attending this PJ Library Toronto event brought boxed, non-perishable food goods to use as a “gragger.” The food was subsequently donated to the local food bank.

MEAL PROJECTS — Through its social action series, PJ Gives Back, PJ Library Chicago families worked together at “PJ Feeds” to pack lunches, sort donated food items, and make cards for the hungry.

RAISING FUNDS — With its “Yellow Comforter Project,” PJ Library Silicon Valley is raising funds to feed the hungry.

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