Greensboro, NC - We all have our traditions for the holidays, and most of them involve spending time with family, away from work.
But not all of us get the day off, especially hospital employees. For 35 years, Jewish volunteers have volunteered at Moses Cone Memorial and Wesley Long Community hospitals so their employees can celebrate Christmas at home.
"For the last few years I've decided to do this as a Mitzvah which means, it's not just a good deed but also a responsibility to help people," explained Lynn Zimmerman, volunteer.
Each Christmas, the college professor from Chicago spends the holiday working as a receptionist, or a gift shop clerk, or a cafeteria employee.
She lived in Greensboro more than 10 years ago but still calls it home. Volunteering on Christmas is her way to give back to the community she loves.
"I am here so that people can have their Christmas at home with their family," said Janet Milder, a volunteer.
Milder is volunteering this year at Wesley Long Community Hospital with her daughter.
"It's important that we, as the Jewish community reach out to the Christian community and help them out when it's time for them to celebrate and we have the day off! So we can give them a hand!" said Milder.
"I get a kick out of wearing my rabbi Santa hat!"
Even though Rabbi Eliezer Havivi doesn't celebrate the holiday, volunteering is his Christmas tradition.
"the truth is that for a lots of Christians, this is a very important religious holiday, so for them, I'm delighted that we can help them celebrate that with their families," explained Rabbi Havivi.
But while they're here allowing others to spend time with their families, they're missing time with their own.
They may not celebrate Christmas but it's still a day off work that they're using to spread a special kind of holiday cheer.
"We're all part of this community, and this is important to you and we're happy to help," said Rabbi Havivi.
"Enjoy yourself, enjoy your family, enjoy your holiday - Merry Christmas," said Zimmerman.
"Enjoy family! Family and friends and go to church and have a merry, merry Christmas," said Milder.
The volunteers worked in the gift shops, at the information desk, and helped prepare and deliver meals to patients.
WFMY News 2