Chanukah is an exciting holiday, filled with family and friends, dreidels, great food, vacation, and of course, toys! However, there are families in our community, maybe on your block or in your kid’s class, who don’t share the same experience. Many families find themselves unable to buy gifts for their children, which is undeniably disheartening. Presents aren’t the point of Chanukah, but it makes a difference in a child’s life knowing that someone is thinking of him or her. The local families we pass every day need as much love and help as we can give them.
This past Motzei Shabbos, kids and adults joined together to volunteer at the JCCRP Chanukah Toy Drive, preparing packages for over 500 children! “Feels great to help out other kids right before Chanukah and its fun too,” commented one of the many youth volunteers.
The Chanukah Toy Drive was the creation of Rochel Baron, A”H. Rochel was battling cancer and received many toys for her kids. While she suffered with her illness, she still had the compassion to wonder why the children of sick moms were the ones to get the toys, and not the children of moms who couldn’t afford to buy any gifts for their kids. Rochel passed away erev Rosh Hashanah 2012, but not before creating the Chanukah Toy Drive, giving to over 80 families and allowing more than 200 kids to feel the joy of Chanukah. Six years later, the toy drive has grown to 150 families and over 500 kids!
This year’s toy drive was dedicated l’illui Nishmas Dr. Hindy Kanarfogel, Hinda Leah A”H bas ybl’ch Menachem Mendel. Hindy was a beloved wife, mother and educator in our community. Her untimely passing has created an indescribable void in her family, friends, colleagues and community. We hope this chessed project has brought an aliyah to her special neshoma.
JCCRP Executive Director Moshe Brandsdorfer said, “The toy drive demonstrates the very essence of the Five Towns/Far Rockaway community. People from all walks of life and different backgrounds were on the giving and receiving end of the Toy Drive, truly capturing the uniqueness of our community.”
The JCCRP wishes to thank all the participating schools, shuls and businesses for collecting toys: BBY, BYAM, Congregation Beth Shalom, DRS, Gourmet Glatt, HAFTR, KolSave, Preminger Dentistry, Seasons, YOSS, YILC and YKLI.
None of this would have been possible without the hard work of the toy drive committee: Sara Austein, Sharon Friedman, Rahely Fruchter, Lara Klein, Daphna Mishaan, Fraidy Osina, Devorah Pelman, Rebecca Richman, Tamar Samuels, Yael Schertz, Tamar Sharf, Rocky Stern and Lily Weichholz. They ran around during their busy days to set up drop off locations, collect toys, pack boxes and organize sponsors. Their outstanding work led to yet another amazing toy drive!
At the pickup, a single mother of four tearfully said, “My kids were smiling from ear to ear when I told them that I would be giving them presents this Chanukah. I can’t thank you enough, you guys are awesome.”
For those who couldn’t make it to the stores, please contribute online at www.jccrp.org. One hundred percent of donations go toward the toy drive. For more information or to volunteer for future project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (718) 327-7755 x6113.