Mitzvah Heroes: The 7th grade students of Har Sinai Temple in Pennington, N.J., have raised the bar on giving of themselves to help others: The 19 Mitzvah Heroes are donating a collective $5,600 from their Bar and Bat Mitzvah gifts to the Pump Up the Pantry $25,000 Food Pantry Challenge of the Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County in New Jersey.
What It’s All About: JFCS created the challenge after receiving a pledge of $25,000 from an anonymous doner earmarked for the agency’s Ohel Avraham Food Pantry, the only kosher pantry in the agency's Princeton/Mercer/Bucks service area. The philanthropist set his own challenge — the donation would be made if it were matched by others.
“We looked at many charities but wanted to pick one that helps Jewish and non-Jewish people alike,” said Maia Finkel, 13, of Hopewell, N.J.
Rebecca McCormack, 13, of Lawrence Township, N.J., also shopped for items to stock the pantry. “Not everyone has the same opportunities as we do,” she noted.
Added Benjamin Aronson, 13, of Newtown, Pa.: “It’s a sad fact that some kids go hungry or cold nowadays.”
Ian Buchsbaum, 12, of Lawrenceville, N.J., echoed the need to help those who are struggling. “Our temple has always been collecting food for less fortunate families so this project made sense,” he explained.
Good for Them: Congrats to the kids comes from Linda Meisel, the agency's executive director, who praises the “wonderful role models" for filling some barren shelves in the food pantry. Meisel said she hopes that the combined $50,000 raised at the end of the campaign "will equal the shortfall in the pantry this year due to unprecedented demand,” stemming in part from the damage caused by Tropical Storm Sandy.