Mitzvah Hero: Cheryl Pliskin, who runs a Mitzvah Magic event benefitting 18 charities.
What It’s All About: For the annual event, the Philly native and current Mt. Laurel, N.J., resident invites nonprofit organizations to tell the public what they need by supplying a “wish list.” Those attending the event — at a fee — are asked to bring items from the list and hand-deliver them to the tables where the charities are set up. Pliskin organized the first event in 2012. The second annual affair, held in April at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, brought in some $30,000 worth of items and $11,000 in proceeds. Pliskin, recently named one of the Super Women of 2013 by South Jersey Magazine, says she's already planning for next year.
Not a One-Time Thing: Owner of Jest Notes & Baskets , a successful corporate gifts company in Lumberton, N.J., Pliskin used to organize the Booze and Schmooze events for the Jewish Business Network, on whose board she serves. There came a time, she says, “when I wanted to have an impact on helping the starving children in our area”; hence, the beginning of Mitzvah Magic. The organizations she's invited to take part have included Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Southern New Jersey and Community Treatment Solutions.
Good for Her: Putting together Mitzvah Magic is all part of a family commitment to tzedakah, says Pliskin, who applied her masters degree in social work from the University of Michigan to found a counseling practice before moving into the business world. In addition to raising Seeing Eye puppies with her daughter, Pliskin has worked with Operation Yellow Ribbon, which sent 2,000 pounds of supplies to U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan. While that was an important project, she says, it's also crucial to “focus on how we can help here, locally, in the United States."
"We should all be giving of ourselves.”