November 10, 2008
Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah (loosely translated as "one good deed leads to another")
A call came to us in early September from Amee Sherer, a friend and teacher at the Community Day School in Seattle. Could we find a worthwhile recipient in the hurricane-ravaged Mississippi-New Orleans area that would benefit from her students’ first tzedakah collection? The only stipulation was that they wanted to help other kids. Sure, we thought, this can’t be too hard – many people, kids and adults alike, are still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina that destroyed so much over three years ago. We asked for a little time to find just the right need and then offered the kids a challenge – we would match whatever they raised, giving them twice the power to change the world.
We made a call to Sue Halpern who lives on the Gulf-coast of Mississippi. Sue has been our guide and advisor for the work we have done in the region and has always been able to find just the right places where our tzedakah efforts would have the greatest impact. Could she find a good "home" for this tzedakah money – a place where kids’ lives would be enhanced? As expected, it did not take long for Sue to introduce us to the new school that was just completed in Hancock County. The Hancock Elementary school replaces three schools in the area that all sustained catastrophic damage during Hurricane Katrina. It took three years to construct this new building and students were moving in on October 14. Give them a few weeks to settle in and Sue was sure there would be many items that the kids could use in their new home.
It did not take long for us to make contact with one of the school’s administrators and just like that – we had a list! First and foremost on the list of needs were overhead projectors for several of the classrooms. School budgets allowed for only so many and there were still six classrooms waiting for this important teaching tool. We knew that the Seattle Community Day School tzedakah along with our matching money would take care of one classroom, but could we do even more? A few phone calls later and a Washington, DC and a Los Angeles-based religious school were on board with their tzedakah and six overhead projectors would be going to Mississippi!
Kids helping kids – just the way it is supposed to be…