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Shop for a cause

mitzvah-mall-11-19-10Holiday shopping can be downright hectic. The annual routine often involves waking up early and standing in long lines to buy the latest gadget or children's toy.

While we check off our list of gifts for family members and close friends, how often do we think about fellow community members during the holidays?

Offering clothing, food items or money to nonprofit organizations is greatly appreciated during this time of year. But an issue that several people struggle with is deciding which organization they would like to help. Where do you have to go to in order to donate? What if you want more information about a particular organization before giving them your donation?

For the third year, Congregation Beth Sholom in Anchorage will host an alternative gift fair where 35 nonprofit organizations will be selling gifts that range from $5 to $30.

Shoppers, however, won't be presented with an array of scented candles or cookware. Instead, people who attend the Mitzvah Mall event have the opportunity to purchase gifts that support local nonprofit organizations, and more importantly, community members who receive assistance from those organizations.

Gifts will be distributed to those in need, including senior citizens, school children and military servicemen and women.

American Red Cross of Alaska, Bean's Cafe, Kids' Corps Inc., Habitat for Humanity, The Arc of Anchorage, and Catholic Social Services are just a few of the nonprofit organizations that will be present at the event.


The Mitzvah Mall will be open Dec. 5 at Congregation Beth Sholom from 1 to 4 pm. Admission is free.

Mitzvah Mall

Congregation Beth Sholom

7525 E. Northern Lights Blvd.

Anchorage, Alaska 99504

Kelly McLain can be reached at kelly(at)