TAG students volunteering at the JCCRP Toy Drive

Chanukah parties, jelly doughnuts, presents, and good cheer. For most people, Chanukah is an exciting holiday, filled with family and friends, dreidels, great food, vacation and, of course, toys!

Even though it is hard to imagine, there are families in our very own community, maybe on your block, in your kids’ class, who don’t share the same enthusiasm. 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 support as we can give them, and the community came together to help.

This past motzaei Shabbos, kids and adults joined in the TAG HS gymnasium to volunteer at the toy drive, preparing toy packages for over 500 children! “Feels amazing to help out other kids right before Chanukah and it’s fun, too,” said Estee, one of the many young volunteers.

The Chanukah Toy Drive was the creation of Rochel Baron, a’h. Rochel was battling cancer and received many toys for her kids. However, 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 in 2012, but not before creating the Chanukah Toy Drive, giving to over 80 families and allowing over 200 kids to feel the joy of Chanukah. Seven years later, the toy drive has grown to 150 families and over 500 kids!

This year’s toy drive was dedicated l’ilui nishmas Mordechai Yovits, Mordechai, a’h, ben ybl’c Yehuda Chaim. Mordechai was a young child whose untimely passing has created an indescribable sadness amongst his family, friends, and the entire community. It is certain that this chesed project has brought an aliyah to his special neshamah. May it bring some comfort to this wonderful family.

Moshe Brandsdorfer, the JCCRP’s executive director, expressed, “The Chanukah toy drive exhibits the very core 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 beautiful community.”

The JCCRP wishes to thank all the participating schools, shuls, and businesses for collecting toys: BBY, BYAM, Congregation Beth Shalom, DRS, Frankel’s, Gan Chamesh, Gourmet Glatt, Gural JCC, HAFTR, KolSave, Preminger Dentistry, Seasons, Shulamith, Total Family Care (Dr. Lightman), YOSS, YILC, and YKLI. A special heartfelt thank you to the TAG administration for hosting this year’s toy packing event.

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, Hudis Saltz, Esther Satt, Yael Schertz, Tamar Sharf, Rocky Stern, Fraidy Rudansky, 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, one mother of three happily expressed, “My kids were jumping for joy when I told them that I would be giving them presents this Chanukah. I can’t thank you enough. You guys are remarkable.”

For those who couldn’t make it to the stores, please contribute online at JCCRP.org. 100% of donations goes toward the toy drive. For more information or to volunteer for future projects, please email info@jccrp.org or call 718-327-7755, ext. 6113.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here