Or Ami is again in the news, when our Adopt a Child Abuse Caseworker program took to the mall to chaperone 40 foster kids through Kohl’s Department store in our annual Foster Childspree. View more pictures here.
In full, the article in the Acorn newspaper was written by Coordinator Debbie Echt-Moxness, reporting:
Seventy Or Ami volunteers gathered at Kohl’s Department Store on Sunday, December 7th for the annual Adopt a Child Abuse Caseworker Holiday Shopping Childspree. Participants chaperoned foster kids throughout Kohl’s, helping them pick out new clothes and toys for the holidays. Or Ami means Light of our People, and this “light” was definitely shining on the faces of these kids and the volunteers who had the honor of being with them. When Mervyn’s Department store could no longer participate, Kohl’s enthusiastically stepped forward. When prior sponsors were unable to provide the gift cards, Or Ami members jumped in with new sponsorships. Grants from the Gogian Foundation, secured by Calabasas resident Kim Gubner, and the Department of Child and Family Services, allowed the congregation to expand Childspree to 40 children!
As Thousand Oaks resident and Congregation Or Ami social action chair Debbie Echt-Moxness recounts, “Miraculously, as I walked through the store and I saw the previously scared looks on the faces of the foster kids transformed by kindness (and new toys) into ear to ear smiles. It was so heart-warming. Spirit-warming, really, if there is such a word!”
One Oak Park resident, face alight with a smile, commented, “We get to go shopping, on someone else’s dime, to help kids in need. How much better can it get?”
When the Bible teaches that we are to care for those least able to care for themselves, it mentions orphans specifically. Judaism teaches that our Biblical ancestors understood that children without parents to care for them deserve special attention and support. These winter holidays (and for Jews, most all holidays) provide important opportunities for giving to others less fortunate than we are. There is no better way to teach it to our kids than to participate in the mitzvah of giving together.