When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, the world shut down and individuals and families in our own community found themselves in situations they never thought imaginable – some without food or clothing, some without interaction with their family and loved ones, and others struggling to adapt to a new virtual world. That’s when 17 local youth made it their mission to help those most in need.
“The pandemic taught us that anyone, at any stage of life, may need a little help and that anyone, at any age, can lend a helping hand,” says Susan Berman, Director of the Center for Community Engagement, Sid Jacobson JCC. “Our volunteer community stepped up and their helping hands were lifelines to so many during an extraordinarily dark time.”
In the almost two years since the pandemic began, these incredible volunteers ranging in ages from 5 to 21 years old, have helped to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of community members through food and clothing donations and drives, goody bags for isolated seniors, mask chain sales benefitting SJJCC’s Community Needs Bank, scheduling vaccine appointments for seniors, and so much more.
“During the pandemic, I made goody bags with Hershey kisses and jokes for seniors in assisted living and nursing homes,” says 5-year-old Miles Posner. “This project made me feel happy because it made people smile. I love making people smile.”
“During the pandemic, I helped to collect food for SJJCC’s Community Needs Bank with the support of my friends, family, and community,” says 13-year-old Eliza Liebowitz. “I also worked to get donations of winter hats for women in local shelters. I did this because it is important to help those in need and to give back to my community.”
Sid Jacobson JCC’s Shine A Light On Hunger event supporting SJJCC’s Community Needs Bank on Thursday, December 9, 6:30 p.m. will honoree these 17 youth volunteers for all of the hope and light they brought to the community during such a dark time. Local politicians including Senator Anna Kaplan, East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz, Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti, and Councilman Peter J. Zuckerman will be in attendance during this outdoor event being held in the JCC parking lot. Following brief remarks, certificate presentations, and a video, attendees will drive over to A Bug’s Night: DriveThru Adventure at Nassau County Museum of Art.
To learn more about the event, including sponsorship opportunities and to make a donation, visit sjjcc.org/shinealight or contact Francine Stephens, 516. 484. 1545 ext. 281, [email protected]