Some families have gone away from disposable items to decorate their Bar and Bat Mitzvah events. Instead they choose to donate centerpiece items to charities and worthy causes. Gift baskets filled with donation items are another alternative for both Bemah (raised platform in a Synagogue) baskets and centerpieces.
Our daughter was a Bat Mitzvah in 1993. I bought some dolls and crocheted outfits for each one of them. Every one had a different colored dress and hat. We used them as table centerpiece decorations, as well as associated place cards for seating our guests. We placed a small note on each table telling our plans to donate the centerpieces and asking that they be left in place.
Shortly after the party we brought the dolls to a local children’s hospital. The girls were delighted to receive the dolls as presents. The joy of the party celebration ran over to the recipients and to us as well.
I do not suggest you spend two years making doll outfits as I did. However, here are some product ideas which can be donated to use on your centerpieces. You can also consider gift baskets in place of flowers to decorate the Bemah at your service or as a centerpiece.
Food is always a popular consideration for your table centerpieces and Bemah baskets as well, especially in these days. Food pantries accept donations of long life shelf items such as canned goods – fruits, vegetables, meats, milks, juices, etc. Paper (facial, toilet tissue and towels) goods, boxed cereals, rice, and noodles are also accepted. Baby formula, diapers, baby food, and other infant products are also a consideration.
You might contact the local food pantry or nearby charitable agency to determine current needs before you decide. My husband volunteered for several years at a food pantry and there are times when they run short of certain items, and other times when they are inundated.
Other items we have used in either centerpieces or Bemah baskets, or you might consider include stuffed animals, books, CDs and DVDs, crayons, coloring books, and other art items. Board games and puzzles as well as electronic games, bats, balls and baseball gloves, footballs and soccer balls, as well as other sporting equipment can also be used.
Going “green” is a popular ecological movement nowadays. To us it means doing things that are of benefit to the earth and mankind. This movement has been afloat in the Bar and Bat Mitzvah scene for a while. Perhaps it will fit into your party planning plans as well.