By Tzivi Baumgarten
Circle of Giving, a new program from Chabad of Great Neck, is the brainchild of a few Great Neck moms who wanted to give back to the community and bring awareness to their children about helping those less fortunate. The group’s motto is a quote from Pirkei Avot, “The world stands upon three things—upon Torah, upon divine service and upon acts of kindness.”
Kicking off during Thanksgiving break, participants woke up early on Friday morning to pack and hand out food packages at Masbia soup kitchen in Brooklyn. A large group of children attended, and more were on a waiting list as the soup kitchen had limited space for the volunteers.
“It was inspiring and admirable to see all the children putting so much love into making the packages,” said mom Sarah Gryn. “I am so proud of the children and hope to see the love of giving spreading around.” Her own children were pleased to be part of the event. “I’m very happy and grateful I was able to help pack the food, do a mitzvah and make people happy. I hope I can do something like that again,” said Ariel, 9 1/2. Her sibling Noam, 8, said, “I was very thankful that I got to do a mitzvah. I’m happy to help prepare the food whenever Circle of Giving needs.”
The Sadon family expressed a similar sentiment. “The true joy is in giving,” said mom Eti, whose children were so happy they participated. “It’s nice to a mitzvah, everyone should try it sometime,” said Mika, 11. “It feels good to do something good,” agreed sister Emma, 11.
The Feder sisters were also thrilled they helped. “It felt like I was really making a difference,” said Noa, 13 1/2. “It felt good to help people in their time of need.” Her 11-year-old sister, Gabby, added, “I liked it because I like to help and I am happy we saved the people two hours of work. I am also proud of myself that I made an impact on people in life.”
Eleven-year-old Mika Parness learned the valuable lesson that helping others makes the giver feel really good, too. “Doing good things makes me happy and makes the people I’m helping happy.”
In honor of Hanukkah, the Circle of Giving is currently collecting new toys and books for children in the hospital. Gifts are being dropped off at Chabad at 400 E. Shore Rd., and on Dec. 11, everyone will meet to pack the gifts. Afterward, children will deliver the toys to the hospital.
Though started during the charitable holiday season, Circle of Giving plans to continue its mission of helping. The group’s next big step is a service for families going through illness. The moms who started this organization realized that there are so many people with time and energy who would love to give, and so many who could use the assistance. The Circle of Giving hopes to bridge the two. The group is currently working on a website where volunteers can sign up to arrange meals, provide rides, babysit and more, while families going through a hard time can sign up to get the help they need.
Great Neck is not just a village, it’s a community and a family. The Circle of Giving wants to make sure we have our neighbors’ backs and are there for each other.
For information about upcoming events, visit Circle of Giving’s Facebook page. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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