Lillia Shub is just 10, but when she talks about what happened after she won a bicycle recently, she sounds way older than her years.
Lillia and her family live in Cranford and belong to Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim, the Conservative shul in town. The bicycle was offered in a fund-raiser raffle held there in November.
A fourth-grader and the oldest of three, Lillia likes riding the bicycle she already had. When she won this second one — a sporty-looking red one, she started wondering how it would feel if your parents couldn’t afford to give you a bike. She could have returned it to the store that donated the prize for a store credit, but she decided against that.
She told NJ Jewish News, “I thought: What if I donated it? — that it would make a child very happy for the holidays. So I did.”
She had hoped the bike could be someone’s Hanukka gift, but finding the right recipient took quite some doing. Her mother, who asked not to be named in this article, spoke to the folks at the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey. Debbie Rosenwein, the federation’s director of planning and allocations, arranged for the bicycle to be donated to Jewish Family Service of Central NJ. Tom Beck, the agency’s executive director, said he and his staff were delighted by the gift.
Rosenwein described this passing along of good fortune as “giving forward.” She said it was the kind of example that can inspire other families.
Lillia said the people at JFS told her they would do careful research to choose a child “who really deserves the bicycle.” Still thinking about its impact, she added, “If their parent doesn’t have a car, they could also use it for transportation.”
It isn’t the youngster’s first venture into charitable giving. Lillia, who loves reading and drawing as well as bike-riding, has been growing up in a family committed to helping those less fortunate than themselves. “I give tzedaka at Hebrew school at my temple, and my sister and I donated some of our Hanukka presents to Toys for Tots,” she said.
She has also made a much more personal gift: “I’ve given my hair to Locks of Love,” she said, and added, after thinking back and checking with her mom, “three times.”