Though a long way off from the areas affected by Sandy, children at a synagogue in Georgia rallied their forces to lend a hand, raising close to $100 to help those who were hurt by the superstorm.
They sent the proceeds they earned from running a lemonade stand to Jewish Family Service of Central New Jersey, to help replenish its emergency food pantry, which faced a huge increase in requests for assistance after the storm.
In a Skype conversation on Jan. 29, JFS executive director Tom Beck and communications director Heidi Pekarsky thanked the children, students in Pamela Starr’s kita hay — fifth grade — class at Congregation Etz Chaim, a Conservative temple in Marietta, Ga.
Beck told the youngsters just how welcome their help was. In the aftermath of the storm, with food spoiled by power outages, people forced from their homes, and some out of work because of the damage, the agency faced a steep rise in requests for help.
Starr read a New Jersey Jewish News article on-line about post-Sandy relief efforts undertaken by JFS. “The children were thrilled to put faces to the people they had been dealing with,” she said.
The students’ curriculum this year dealt with tzedaka and giving to others, and the difference between wants and needs. “They wanted to contribute to Sandy relief,” Starr said, “not to the ‘big pot’ but to something specific, and this worked perfectly.”
The lemonade stand was the students’ idea. They mixed the drink, made signs, and took 15-minute turns manning the stand, which was set up at Etz Chaim’s Sisterhood Hanukka Shuk in December. “They were so enthusiastic,” Starr said, “and they got a great response. It really spoke to the generosity of the community.