Opinion | Susan Knopf: Uplift Summit County

Susan Knopf

Summit Colorado Interfaith Council is sponsoring its first ever Community Service Day from 1-4 p.m. this Sunday, Sept. 10. The project is modeled after Synagogue of the Summit’s successful Mitzvah Day.

Mitzvah Day is a day of giving, and good deeds. Tikkun Olam is a central value of the Jewish faith and Mitzvah Day. Its meaning depends on who you talk to. A Nevada orthodox rabbi told me tikkun olam means to do the 613 mitzvot which G-d commands. Chabad is an orthodox Jewish site and it recognizes the Reform Jewish interpretation which is to partner with G-d in repairing and improving the world. That’s what Mitzvah Day is intended to do.

Mitzvah Day is not just a U.S. program. I found a great reference article on the British Broadcasting Corporation site. The article credits a British woman for inventing international Mitzvah Day in 2005. Apparently she experienced the magical miracle of giving while living in Los Angeles, California. My family was working hard on Mitzvah Day projects in Fort Worth, Texas in the 1990s.

Synagogue of the Summit has been gathering to complete Mitzvah Day gemilut chasidim, acts of loving kindness, since 2018. There was a break for the plague — COVID 19. I wrote about my participation in this year’s Mitzvah Day in our June 30 edition.

Like the Synagogue, the Interfaith Council will have a project with Friends of Dillon Ranger District. Volunteers will be erecting trail signs on a Summit County trail frequented by tourists and locals. If this project interests you write to me at the email address below. Please put “Community Service Day” in the subject line.

Several other projects also have room for more volunteers. If you like trail work, the Eagle-Summit Wilderness Alliance could use some help trimming shrubs on a local trail.

Summit Historical Society is looking for help on two different projects. The group will decide which project this weekend when they see how many people volunteer. One project is for many hands, and one is for a smaller group.

Another project idea, also comes from the Synagogue. Smart Bellies is a new-ish local nonprofit that packs food bags for Summit County school kids who are food insecure. Members and friends of the Summit Colorado Interfaith Council will fill grocery bags on Sunday afternoon. This project is currently full. But if you are interested in future opportunities to pack food bags for Smart Bellies contact them. They need volunteers every week. You can sign up at

This is the first effort by the Interfaith Council to create a day of service in Summit County. But it’s not the first time the Interfaith Council has served the community. My ski area supervisor lived in a Summit Safe Parking lot sponsored by the Interfaith Council’s Unsheltered in Summit Committee.

Refugees have also been aided by that committee this summer. That group is also working hard to create a temporary housing shelter for people coming to Summit County seeking employment.

The Interfaith Council will soon seek donations for Thanksgiving to Go, and a grocery gift card program for people who are food insecure.

The Interfaith Council has offered non-denominational services at times of national grief. The group also offers an interfaith Thanksgiving service. This year it is tentatively scheduled for 3 p.m. on Nov. 12 at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Breckenridge.

My formal association with the Interfaith Council is coming to an end in the next month. My support for the group’s work and mission will continue. I hope we can count on you to work to uplift Summit County.

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