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Maimonides students turn lemons into family aid

JTA

January 9, 2012 | 6:36 pm

Students from Maimonides Academy raised $350 at three lemonade stands Dec. 11, to support families that the school has adopted through Jewish Family Service’s (JFS) Adopt-a-Family program. Maimonides, an Orthodox day school that teaches preschoolers to eighth-graders, has adopted one senior citizen and a family with four children.

Prior to the lemonade-stand fundraisers, students and parents had raised more than $600 to purchase wish-list items and gift cards for stores such as Target, Toys R Us, Ross, Children’s Place and Walmart.

“It’s eye opening for the kids to see that not everyone lives like they do. We live in such a virtual world, and this adoption program makes the act of giving real,” said Chana Gelb, co-president of Maimonides PTA.

During the past three years, the Adopt-a-Family program has seen an increasing number of families and individuals in need, according to Sherri Kadovitz, community outreach coordinator at JFS. Recipients, who remain anonymous, are identified through their participation in other JFS programs, such as the SOVA Community Food and Resource Program or domestic violence shelters. Kadovitz estimates that 200 families and 70 senior citizens will be aided this year by the Adopt-a-Family program. Aside from Maimonides, Adat Ari El, Kadima Day School and YULA High School are all also participating in the program.

Maimonides plans to use the $350 from the lemonade sales to benefit the two families they’ve already adopted, either through additional purchases from their wish lists or more gift cards.

“Such a large part of Jewish education is to be connected and feel some responsibility to Am Yisrael, the world, and our greater community,” Gelb said. “This is real and it’s a need right here at home. We’re teaching our children that our world is bigger than just the people you interact with daily.”

For more information about JFS’ Adopt-a-Family program, contact Sherri Kadovitz at skadovitz@jfsla.org.

— Lauren Bottner, Contributing Writer

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