The Meaning of Giving

Barbara Victor was looking for a volunteer project to get involved with before Chanukah; she found her answer via the Jewish Family and Children's Service of Greater Philadelphia and its "Adopt a Family" program, which provides Chanukah gifts to those in need throughout the community.

Victor had noticed that several synagogues were helping families in similar ways for Christmas, but she wanted to do something specific to make certain Jewish families were taken care of as well.

A member of the Mary Bert Gutman Early Learning Center Parents' Association, she helped establish a schoolwide effort to send gifts to two Jewish families from Northeast Philadelphia.

First, the family members provided wish lists of sought-for items to social workers at JFCS. Then, Victor sent letters to the households of 100 toddlers and preschoolers at the Gutman Center in Melrose Park, asking them to help out in the cause, and to "teach their children about the mitzvah of giving, rather than just receiving."

Answering the call, the Gutman students and their parents have been dropping off presents and clothes in a donation box in the lobby of the school, and have also volunteered to wrap gifts while the students made cards to include with the donations.

Victor has been pleased with the overwhelmingly positive response: "They think that it's nice to do that mitzvah and give this season."

The gifts were presented on Dec. 12 to social workers at JFCS, and will be delivered to the two families before the holiday.



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