This past Motza’ei Shabbos, the social hall of Congregation Ner Mordechai in Kew Gardens had the look of a thrift shop, with ample clothing, household items, toys, and shoes. The free items distribution was organized by Chazaq in partnership with Chickens for Shabbos, to benefit teachers at local day schools.
“The frontline of religious instruction is the m’lamdim and moros. We are providing every possible incentive for our teachers,” said Chickens for Shabbos spokesman Robbie Neuman.” They are responsible for our children for up to eight hours each day.”
Chickens for Shabbos was founded in Kew Gardens Hills nearly 14 years ago, as Neuman describes, by a miracle from HaKadosh Baruch Hu, with no overhead costs, nor an office, but with backing from community rabbis and activists to support families of widows and divorcees in Israel. Recognizing the importance of providing tz’dakah close to home, Chickens for Shabbos partnered with Olam Chesed to support the educators of Queens.
Founded by Rabbi Mordechai and Meechal Roizman, Olam Chesed describes itself as the “largest chesed organization that one has heard about.” With its 50,000-square-foot warehouse in Haverstraw, it has the capacity to receive large volumes of extra merchandise from internationally renowned retailers such as Target and Walmart. Items that resulted from overstock, returns, and mislabeling are donated to Olam Chesed with a tax deduction to these corporations. In situations involving a wholesale need, such as a hurricane damaging an entire community, Olam Chesed can quickly provide the goods and clothing for households in need.
“Our role was to bring the items to Kew Gardens in trucks,” said Chazaq CEO Rabbi Yaniv Meirov. “We reached out to some of the local schools and institutions; unfortunately, we couldn’t do it for all. We had volunteers set up the place professionally so that everyone can find what they need in a quick fashion. Beyond our role, Olam Chesed generously provided the items, Emet Outreach provided much needed volunteers, and Ner Mordechai provided the beautiful space. We extend our gratitude to all the teachers for educating our children while taking care of their families at these difficult times.”
In total, nearly 250 teachers were registered to receive clothing, toys, diapers, and toothpaste at this event, with each school given its own time slots to ensure social distancing. Neuman noted that from his experience, teachers have larger families and do not earn enough in relation to their great role in extending Jewish continuity for the next generation. “We’ve partnered with Chazaq at many other volunteer events,” said Emet Program Director Sara Basiratmand-Benyamin. “As soon as they heard of this event, our students rushed to help.”
The organizations hope to arrange another one of these great giveaways in the near future in order to open the doors for other local institutions.
By Sergey Kadinsky