WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - The kitchen comes alive before dawn: a beehive of activity, frenzied workers scurrying about. Some open boxes; others scoop up apples and bread, doling them out one at a time.
"We call it a holiday in a box," said Marty Katz. "It's our mission."
The mission for Katz and for hundreds of volunteers and staff members Thursday was to get nearly 2,000 holiday meals packed, prepped, and ready to be delivered. The meals are sent out as part of the "Homebound Mitzvah" program at MorseLife Senior Center near West Palm Beach, which delivers the meals to isolated, lonely seniors twice a year on some of the most important Jewish holidays.
"There are so many people that are needy, Jewish elderly in this community, that have no family here, that have no friends any longer here," added Katz, "so we become more friends and family."
Staffers at MorseLife plan the meals for months. They spend weeks cooking the traditional dishes, and then arrive around 5 a.m. to put them in boxes for volunteers to deliver throughout Palm Beach County.
"A 'mitzvah' means 'good deed' in Hebrew," said staffer Linda Sevich, "and that's exactly what this is."
In 12 years, volunteers have delivered nearly 50,000 meals to local seniors. They partake in the program both during the Jewish new year of Rosh Hashana and on Passover in the spring.