By Jill Fox
Parkland preschoolers are making a difference this Chanukkah by donating to children in need.
Students at the Phylis J. Green Early Childhood Center at Congregation Kol Tikvah used their tzedakah (Hebrew for charity) money to purchase items for children at Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options — or JAFCO.
Through their generous donations, each of the 45 pre-K students helped fulfill the wishes of the JAFCO children.
ECC Director Sydney Berlin said the school tries to pick two or three organizations to donate their tzedakah to during the school year and chose children’s charities because it was meaningful for the kids.
Typically JAFCO provides paper Stars of David decorated with children’s wishes; however, this year was slightly different.
The pre-K teachers spoke with the students about less-fortunate children who don’t have Chanukkah presents to open. Then the staff picked out a few items in the appropriate price range from an Amazon Wishlist, and students chose which ones they wanted to buy.
“This year, we wanted to create a meaningful hands-on experience for the kids, and that’s why we did it differently,” said Berlin.
The students picked the items, watched them arrive, and wrapped about 15 gifts for children in need.
“The students absolutely loved it,” she said. “They had never really wrapped presents before, so it was very rewarding.”
According to JAFCO representative Debbie Nyman, with the JAFCO Jewish Children’s Village, the size and the mass gets bigger and bigger every Chanukkah.
“The depth of the donations has really taken off because now we help so many families in different communities,” she said.
JAFCO’s Chanukkah gift drive serves over 1,000 children whose families don’t have the resources to provide gifts.
Nyman said the community outpouring was just phenomenal. “Everyone really stepped up, and we’re very appreciative.”
To donate to JAFCO, visit jafco.org.
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.