At Temple Beth Sholom Early Childhood Center in Roslyn Heights this year, the school’s annual Mitzvah Week Food Drive became a family affair.
On Tuesday, Nov. 16, parents and caregivers were invited to join their child outdoors for a box decorating event.
This event was conceived after preschool director, Jen Schiffer, received feedback from parents that they were looking for more ways to connect with other families in the school community in a fun and safe way.
Because the school’s COVID policies this year prevent parents from entering the school building, all events previously held inside the building have either been postponed or taken off the calendar, for now. Schiffer shared, “Now is not the time to let our guard down. We are always evaluating our current policies, and are hopeful that sometime in the future we will be able to welcome our amazing families into our school once again.”
On the heels of a successful outdoor pumpkin picking event held in October, Schiffer wanted to find another way to bring parents back to the school, especially before the weather turns colder.
At the end of the Food Drive each year, the preschool children traditionally help package the food for delivery to the Lend A Hand Project in Commack. Schiffer thought, why not make the boxes filled with food donations look festive for delivery?
With the support of the Early Childhood Center teachers, each grade level of two, three, and four year old children came up with their own plan for decorating the boxes, and parents were only happy to help.
Glue, markers, stickers and other craft items were used to decorate the boxes. Not only were the children excited to have their grown-ups to help, but the parents were also excited to connect with one another. The final result was colorful and happy.
Because COVID has changed the way the school’s daily drop-off and pick-up happens, parents are missing the face time with one another that existed before the pandemic.
The Mitzvah Week Food Drive, always held the week before Thanksgiving, aims to teach Jewish preschool children about the conscious act of doing something for someone else.
Values such as empathy and kindness are encouraged, as children learn about vulnerable populations on Long Island who will benefit from their food donations This community-wide act of kindness is a hands-on approach to helping children understand the true meaning of giving and doing for others.
By making the Food Drive a family initiative only added value to the important message the teachers were hoping to share with their little learners.
“The children not only see how their actions benefit others; they are able to feel it too. It is the feeling we want them to remember and to pay forward in their daily lives. This is the true spirit of giving,” said Schiffer.