Local Yeshiva Students Help Pack Donations By The Boxload
Massive amounts of food and hygiene items donated by the Jewish community have been loaded into shipping containers and will soon be sent to Haiti to help victims of the recent earthquake.
“The Haitian community and the Jewish community live together in Spring Valley,” said Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder, a main organizer of the relief effort. “We pray together and we mourn together. We rejoice together and we help each other out. Today we are all Haitians.”
Two 40-foot containers containing shelf-stable food and hygiene items, including hand sanitizer and alcohol and non-alcohol wipes, were unloaded from delivery trucks in the parking lot outside Spring Valley Village Hall. The goods were then loaded into shipping containers that will be sent to Haiti.
Legislator Wieder (D-Spring Valley), New York State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein (D-Brooklyn), Masbia Soup Kitchen Network Executive Director Alexander Rapaport, local Haitian Pastors, and members of the Haitian and Hasidic community, among others, announced a massive drive to benefit Haiti on Tuesday. The New York Jewish community has already pledged more than $1 million worth of relief to this effort.
The pallets of food were donated by the KayCo, which includes the Kedem and Manischewitz labels. KayCo’s Executive Vice President Charles Herzog said the company felt compelled to help.
“We have an obligation and honor to step up to the plate and assist communities in need and crisis,” Herzog said. “It’s the core tenet of who we are as a Jewish owned company, and we are humbled that we’re in a position to give a hand and share a smile with fellow humans in need.”
Legislator Wieder thanked the Village of Spring Valley, including Ramon Soto and Mayor Alan Simon.
He also thanked Charles Sobel, General Manager for Future Brands, which provided one truck full of the hygiene items, and Meyer Tauber of Metrex Realty, whose support covered the costs of some of the supplies.
“This is what we do,” Tauber said. “We care for our neighbors. We care for our brothers and sisters.”
Bishop Paul D. Laplante of the First Haitian Church of God of Middletown is sponsoring the shipment of one of the containers.
Masbia Soup Kitchen Network Executive Director Alexander Rapaport said he hopes more people will contribute to the relief effort so additional food and supplies can be shipped to Haiti. He said thousands more pallets can be sent as soon funds are raised to ship the cargo.
“It’s over 90 degrees outside but we have wonderful young volunteers packing two container-loads of supplies and food,” Rapaport said. “This is the first round that we are sending as a community effort to Haiti. We still have a lot of supply pledged. What we need is help to pay for cargo.”
The packed delivery trucks were unloaded by forklift and by about half a dozen students attending Yeshiva Degal Hatorah in Spring Valley, accompanied by their principal, Rabbi Moshe Schwab.
“They gave up their learning time and they came here to help people so the people of Haiti should have food,” Rabbi Schwab said. “And that’s what we want to teach our young generation, that they have to take the responsibility. When a person is in trouble, you lend them a shoulder. You put a shoulder to it, and you help the person out.”
The students also spray painted and stamped many of the boxes with the words, “With Love From the Jewish Community.”
Legislator Wieder said the relief effort is off to a strong start, but that much work remains to be done because so many in Haiti are suffering.
“These shipping containers are filled with goods and with hope for the people of Haiti,” Legislator Wieder said. “I invite anyone who can help, to consider supporting this important effort.”
More than 2,200 people have so far been confirmed dead after the 7.2 earthquake hit Haiti on August 14. More than 12,000 people have been injured and more than 53,000 houses, as well as entire towns, have been destroyed. Hospitals and aid organizations have been overwhelmed and inundated with people seeking shelter, medical care, food and clean drinking water.
Members of Konbit Neg Lakay of Spring Valley and Rockland Haiti Relief will go to Haiti to make sure the donations get to the people who need them. Members of the Haitian American Nurses Association of the Hudson Valley are expected to soon head to Haiti to help and may help distribute some of the donations.
HOW TO HELP HAITI
Visit www.masbiarelief.org/haiti to help cover cargo shipping costs and for a list of supplies you can donate via an online or in-person donation.
Visit Rockland County Haiti Relief’s GoFundMe Page here: gofund.me/fe95f20a or send checks to “Rockland County Haiti Relief.” Mail to Konbit Neg Lakay, 16 E. Church St., Spring Valley, NY 10977
Rockland County Haiti Relief and the Haitian American Nurses Association of Hudson Valley are coordinating a drive for relief supplies - nonperishable food, over the counter medicine, personal care products, baby & infant supplies, first aid kits, blankets, tents, air mattresses, solar lights, toiletries, feminine products, flashlights, batteries, extension cords, candles, facemasks, gloves, wash cloths, water, alcohol 95%, hand sanitizer (no clothes or shoes at this time). Drop off items at Konbit Neg Lakay, 16 E. Church St., Spring Valley.