NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Dozens young and old gathered Sunday to give back to the community.

As CBS2’s Reena Roy reported, the West Side Institutional Synagogue prepared about 1,000 pounds of vegetables to feed the needy.

The simple acts of chopping and peeling are part of everyday life, but can sometimes mean so much more.

“I think it’s important because the poor people who don’t have food,” said one boy named Noah Schwebel. “Because we’re peeling, they will be able to have food.”

“It’s very important as a society to help other people,” another volunteer said.

After all, food is the way to someone’s heart. In this case, hundreds of strangers will now get a hearty meal or two thanks to the volunteers who prepared thousands of fresh produce for the needy.

“Not everyone has the chance to have food everyday, so it’s good to help them out,” a volunteer said.

“It’s a chance for us to get down and dirty and show our children what it means to help other people,” said Daniela Schwebel.

This was the second annual Family Chesed Day at the West Side Institutional Synagogue. Chesed is the Hebrew word for charity or kindness.

It was the perfect mitzvah, or good deed, ahead of the Jewish holiday Purim on Wednesday.

“It’s a big mitzvah because if you feel it for them,” Noah said. “It’s helping them survive.”

“For us, this is really the most appropriate time to do it — right before Purim, the message of Purim,” said Rabbi Daniel Sherman of the synagogue, “and more importantly as being a rabbi, we can talk about being kind. We can talk about doing charity.”

All the fruits and vegetables will be going into crates that will be headed for the Masbia Soup Kitchen, where they will turn into delicious meals for 400 people over the next five days.

“It’s a huge help because all these vegetables are going to help us prepare fresh meals for all this week,” said Ruben Diaz, a chef at the soup kitchen. “We’re going to make soup, vegetables, sauces for the chicken

And of course, giving back has no age limit. The youngest of the volunteers were too small even to pick up kitchen tools and used art supplies instead to make cards by hand to go with the meals.

The less fortunate thus will go home not just with full bellies, but full hearts during the holidays.

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