(Washington, D.C., Dec. 23, 2020)--Despite the pandemic, B’nai B’rith is continuing its good work over this holiday season. In past years, the Achim/Gate City (Atlanta) B’nai B’rith Lodge has organized the Pinch Hitter program to send volunteers to work in non-medical positions in hospitals and senior living facilities on Christmas Day to give staff a day off to spend with their families.
This year, due to the pandemic, the program could not operate as usual, so B’nai B’rith found another way to thank employees working in these important positions, while also bringing joy to residents and patients: the B’nai B’rith Pinch Hitters Gift of Talent Extravaganza. The new program collected videos from 25 volunteers sharing their talents and turned it into an almost two-hour video that was shared with hospitals and senior care facilities to be shown on Christmas Day. Performers ranged from a grade schooler to a 94-year-old resident at a B’nai B’rith Senior Housing building in New Jersey, and talents included singing, piano playing, interpretive dance, parody and more.
“In addition to providing entertainment for the residents or patients at the facilities, we are also saying thank you to the essential workers at these locations for being ‘heroes on the job’ throughout this pandemic,” Achim Gate/City Lodge Chairman Harry Lutz said.
The video was shared in hospitals and nursing homes in Atlanta, the VA Hospital in North Haven, Connecticut and offered to the B’nai B’rith Senior Housing Network for its residents.
Recipients expressed their appreciation for Pinch Hitters and the Gift of Talent video.
“You have no idea how many times I have told someone how much I miss Pinch Hitters being at The Cohen Home. I watched the video on YouTube, I’m excited to show it to the residents, I think they will really enjoy it from beginning to end,” said Alison D. Maddox, life enrichment and activities director at the Cohen Home.
The Pinch Hitter program began in 1980 with 18 volunteers visiting Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital, and now provides hundreds of volunteers every year. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush recognized the program as his 335th Point of Light Award.
“To many people all over the world, Christmas is one of the most sacred holidays. It is a day of worship, goodwill and celebration. In hospitals, assisted senior living communities, nursing homes, police stations and fire stations, however, employees must report to work. The business of caring for the sick and injured and responding to victims of unfortunate situations is a daily task, with no regard for a holiday schedule,” said Achim/Gate City Lodge President Helen Scherrer-Diamond.
Pinch Hitters is organized by the Achim/Gate City Lodge—one of B’nai B’rith’s oldest lodges—established in 1870. The lodge organizes and promotes many volunteer community service programs throughout the year.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org.