A Weekend Of Service: Charity Challenge, Mitzvah Day & More

Martin Luther King Jr. Day may have come and gone, but its message of community service carries on. And this weekend, residents of the western communities have a chance to do just that. Not only are there opportunities to get out in the community and do some hands-on work, but there’s a chance to support dozens of great causes while having fun. Saturday, Jan. 26 starts off with a morning road cleanup in Wellington. Later on, the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge returns to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Meanwhile, Sunday is Mitzvah Day in Wellington, which offers a variety of projects for people to take part in. We recommend everyone make an effort to join in.

For the fourth year now, the Great Charity Challenge comes to Wellington. Here’s how it works: teams of three comprising amateur, junior and professional riders are each designated a local charity assigned at random. They compete for prize money, and all of the money goes to the charities. This year, $1.5 million will be distributed among 34 charities from Palm Beach County. Charities selected for the event are chosen at random as well, and all registered nonprofit organizations in Palm Beach County are eligible. Though the top prize is $150,000, each charity is guaranteed to come out with at least $10,000.

What’s great about the Great Charity Challenge is that it’s intended for a general family audience, not just for fans of equestrian sport. The event brings together the greater community with the equestrian world and draws thousands of people to Wellington. In that spirit, a new family-friendly feature has been added this year, with the inclusion of a hand-painted Venetian carousel for all ages to enjoy. For more information, including a list of participating charities and a chance to vote for your favorite, visit www.ftigreatcharitychallenge.com.

The Saturday night event promises to be a relaxing occasion at the show grounds — just right for anyone taking part in the morning road cleanup, sponsored by the Wellington Preservation Coalition as part of Wellington’s “Adopt a Street” program. The cleanup will take place along Wellington Trace, starting at Forest Hill Blvd. and ending at Fire-Rescue Station #25. Meet at 9 a.m. in the parking lot of the original Wellington Mall. Call (561) 333-9843 for more info.

To wrap up the weekend with some more good deeds, Temple Beth Torah joins the Village of Wellington for Mitzvah Day on Sunday, Jan. 27 from 9 a.m. to noon. This includes indoor projects such as sewing (teddy bears, blankets), sorting buttons (for local nonprofit Hugs & Kisses) and baking cookies (to deliver to public safety officers), as well as outdoor tasks such as beautifying Wellington’s Section 24. Call the temple at (561) 793-2700 for more info.

Community service is not just a good way to help out; it’s a way for residents to feel like a part of their community and even meet new people along the way. So if you’re able to, please take part. Even the smallest task is a step in the right direction.