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Foster Child Reflects on Mitzvah Day Comfort Bags

Why does Or Ami assemble 400+ Mitzvah Day Comfort Bags?

Levy on Mitzvah Day

How do we know that they  really touch people’s lives?

Ask a former foster care child. Or ask our Mitzvah Day chair.

Our Volunteers Answer

Our Mitzvah Day chair spoke recently to children in our learning programs:

Every year at Congregation Or Ami, we put together hundreds and hundreds of duffle bags filled with toys and a blanket and school supplies and lots of other neat things, and we give them to children who are called “foster kids.” Foster kids are kids just like you, but who can’t live at home with their moms or dads anymore because sometimes moms and dads have really big problems and can’t take care of their kids. These kids live with a different family for a while, until their own families can take good care of them again.

These kids can get a little lonely and afraid. That’s why we put together special gifts for them – these duffle bags – to help them feel better.

Former Foster Care Child’s Answer

Stone family Mitzvah DayA young mother named “America” spoke about her journey into foster care and what receiving a “Comfort Bag” would mean to her. America wrote:

Dear Friends,

[Talking to your congregation…] was my first time speaking before a group. For a few minutes I was only able to hear my heart beating in my chest, but I knew in my heart that I was in front of a group of great people. People who are willing to help innocent, helpless kids who are going through what could be the worst experience in their lives.

The kids don’t see it as the Foster Care system is helping them. They see it as the system is taking them away from their families, and as everybody would agree FAMILY is by far the most important and real thing a human being can have. Family is what helps us survive in this world. If you lose that, you are left with nothing to live for. We feel unprotected, defenseless, and, to some degree, naked. That is why I believe in my heart that what you are doing for these kids is huge.

As for me, … the foster care system was the best thing that could have ever happened to me at that moment in my life. By then, I had already lost my family, meaning my mom. The aunt I was living with would abuse me all the time. So when I was taken to my new (foster) home, it was just perfect. I know that not all the kids end up in a good (foster) home but I was lucky enough to have taken to a beautiful family – a mom and her son. It was perfect for me.

After that, all the things that kept coming to my life were just blessing. Amazing people – just like you – that I encountered, changed my life forever. I was also blessed with Jessica, who was my social worker at that time, and who is now my best friend, my mentor, my savior at times, and who I love deeply. It is because of people like you and her that my life changed to something good. To something closer to being a normal kid. It built my character; it healed my heart.

Therefore, I want you to know that [the Mitzvah Day work you do] is making a big difference in the lives of these kids because you are proving to them, letting them know, that out in the world there is someone who DOES care for their well being, who is not taking away something, but is providing for them. And if its something so personalized like the Mitzvah Day Comfort Bags, it’s even more powerful and more meaningful. It’s a positive seed of love and kindness that you are planting in their souls.

For sure it’s going to take their innocent minds off of that bitter moment they went through when they were taken away. And if it doesn’t at that moment, one day in their lives they’ll recognize and realize what a great gesture it was and maybe, just maybe, they will also want to support a good cause just like you are doing now.

I was a victim once but because of people like you, my life changed. Now, because of that, every time that I have the opportunity, I help others. I hope one day to be able to provide a loving family to one of those kids that need it. As for now, I’m looking for the opportunity to move forward everyday to provide for the beautiful family of my own. But I know that one day, God will provide for me and my family to help a few kids in this life.

Thank you again. Don’t forget that you are changing a life!

Help us prepare for Mitzvah Day

Temple as assembly lineWe are collecting over ten thousand items. Can you help donate some or many? Do you have a contact with someone or a company that might donate bulk items? Would your company like to be a named sponsor of Mitzvah Day?

As of today, we still need:

  1. Coloring Books,
  2. Activity Books for Teens,
  3. Crayons,
  4. New Stuffed Animals,
  5. School Supplies,
  6. Child Themed Night Lights,
  7. Small Flashlights,
  8. Books,
  9. X-LG T-Shirts,
  10. Girl’s Accessories,
  11. Hard Back Journals,
  12. Hand-Held Games/Toys/Crafts,
  13. Decks of Cards,
  14. Combs/Brushes,
  15. Flavored Chapstick,
  16. Under 1 Yr. Clothing/Toys

To Donate, Make a Connection or Be a Sponsor

Please let us know by filling out the form below. Someone will be in touch soon. Children are looking forward to your help. 


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