This past Monday, the JCC of the Greater Five Towns and the JCCRP had another successful Chanukah Toy Drive in memory of Rochel Baron, a’h. With gifts in hand and spirits high, the community is getting ready to celebrate Chanukah.
Rochel Baron, a’h, the originator of the toy drive, had the sensitivity and the caring to ask, “Why are sick kids the only ones to get gifts? What about people who cannot afford them?” And just like that, the idea of the toy drive was created. Years later, we still see her tremendous impact; one thoughtful person can truly create a ripple effect and change in the community.
Community residents volunteered their time and energy, excited to be helping others in this meaningful project. Families donated money and went shopping as well to buy gifts for other people’s children. On Sunday, over 50 volunteers helped get the gifts ready and perfect to present to the families. Toys were distributed to the families in a sensitive, private manner, and were arranged by age, ranging from 0-19. Many volunteers brought their children to help package gifts, energetically and excitedly picking out toys for other kids. On Monday, the families came to pick up their toys, gift cards, and doughnuts for Chanukah. Over 500 local children from struggling families were the recipients of these toys. None of this could be accomplished without the commitment and dedication of toy-drive coordinators: Shani Abittan, Adi Aryeh, Danielle Kupferman, Daphna Mishaan, Fraidy Osina, Rebecca Richman, Rocky Stern, and Lily Weichholz.
Bayli Sinensky, a Bnos Bais Yaakov student from Woodmere, generously donated many of her own bat mitzvah toys and gifts to share with the community. In total, she donated hundreds of gifts and gift cards, truly conveying a strong sense of community and deep caring toward others. Even at such a young age, she has succeeded in setting a tremendous example of what it means to be such a caring and giving batYisrael. The toy-drive committee extends its gratitude to Bayli and her family and wishes them a sincere mazeltov on the occasion of her bat mitzvah.
The committee would like to express its deep gratitude to all the donors and generous sponsors: Brach’s, Five Towns Judaica, Gourmet Glatt, Kiss and Makeup, La Toys, Rite Lite, Seasons, and Suki & Ding. A special thank you to the students of the Congregation Sons of Israel Hebrew School in Woodmere and Lev Bais Yaakov in Brooklyn for donating the toys they collected from their toy drive to this project. Thanks also go to UJA-Federation for being incredibly supportive in helping fund this endeavor; their continued support is appreciated. Hopefully, through facilitating this community-wide project, the toy drive has been able to help create a Chanukah of perfect simcha for those in need, both parents and children alike, as well as bring an aliyah for the neshamah of Rochel Baron, a’h.