“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” — Barack Obama
I was always a giving person. I was always someone to lean on. I was always someone to go the extra mile for that friend or a friend’s friend. I couldn’t help myself. Growing up, my mother was an RN and a professor of nursing at a local college. She was also a member of the Hadassah Nurses Council. My father was an assistant principal at a school in a low-income neighborhood where all the kids knew him because he rode his bicycle to work for exercise. I was taught to give others what they don’t have. To be a caregiver. To do a mitzvah. To make a difference.
Fast forward to today, I am a professional fundraiser with Hadassah for its two world-class research hospitals in Israel under the banner of the Hadassah Medical Organization. I am also a life member and active volunteer of the Hadassah B’Not Chapter in Boca Raton, FL.
During these past several weeks with the onset of our country’s pandemic, I have been searching for something else to fulfill my soul. I could not just sit by and watch COVID-19 destroy peoples’ lives. I have lost loved ones. I have watched people recover and I have watched people’s lives all get compromised by this terrible virus. I knew I had to spring into action. As a parent, a mother, a friend and a mentor, I know I have to teach my children (Ella 13 and Brayden 11) that giving back to our community and to the community at large is one of the most important lessons in life.
We have always believed in helping others, but now more than ever. We have to help others who are less fortunate, who need our help and know that we are there for them. Tikkun Olam. Repair the World. This is what I have been preaching to my family since they were young. We have done so many different activities as a family to showcase this. We have sung at nursing homes for the residents, we have served Easter dinner at a local church for those less fortunate; we have delivered gifts on Christmas to families in need to those who just simply can’t have Christmas. We wrapped gifts for those in need of Hanukah and filled up bags with food to deliver to people so they wouldn’t go hungry. We have delivered Passover meals to seniors in dire straits. We have read stories to little ones so they could hear a soothing voice at their side. We have been there. Volunteering has given our family a sense of direction and purpose during a time of uncertainty and fear.
My love and passion for Hadassah is endless so I showed my kids how as a family we could help support our giving efforts locally. My friend’s parents were both diagnosed with COVID-19, so we ran around Delray Beach getting masks for them as our community so kindly offered to help. We stood with others at our local hospital, Boca Regional and said “We care” to those that were helping the fight against this virus. We made over 60 sandwiches to bring to a local church to feed those in need. We also brought 6-dozen hard boiled eggs to feed more families. Subsequently, we have been writing letters and notes to friends and family to check on them consistently with just a simple loving message of thinking of you and to stay safe.
As a family, we organized a campaign to send charging cords and plugs to Mt Sinai Hospital in NYC so that COVID-19 patients could speak with their family member (since most people forget to bring a charging cord with them when they are ill). We were so proud of our efforts. We had over 200 chargers sent in and are currently helping Mt. Sinai, Sinai West and hospitals in Brooklyn and Queens. The thought that we as a family of four could be helping others in our own way gave us a strong sense of purpose.
I know that COVID-19 will have a long-term effect on all of us but if my family of four was able to make a difference at all to bring a smile to other people’s faces, then I was able to accomplish my goal. I know that we will continue our mitzvah projects even after COVID-19 as this is now an important part of our life.
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