Students at Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford took Giving Tuesday to heart this year, by spending the day engaged in an ambitious schedule of charitable projects. Every student – from Early Childhood through Grade 8 – took part, notes head of school Andrea Kasper, because “the act of giving back to those in need is woven into the very fabric of the school’s core values of ‘Good Heart’ – ‘Lev Tov’ – and ‘Community’ – ‘Klal Yisrael.’”
By the time Giving Tuesday had drawn to a close, Solomon Schechter students had packed more than 1,000 toiletry tote bags for DignityGrows; made over 40 lunch bags and homemade cookies; filled 17 Shabbat packages; baked 5 trays of blondies; decorated countless door hangers and picture frames; wrote and decorated tons of cards to go to all of the recipients.
Here’s a closer look at the students’ Giving Tuesday projects:
• Students supported the Dignity Grows initiative by packing more than a thousand tote bags with a full month’s supply of comprehensive hygiene and menstrual products for our neighbors in need. The totes are then distributed to various Greater Hartford nonprofits who, in turn, distribute them to those in need. A program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford’s Women’s Philanthropy and co-founded 18 months ago by Solomon Schechter Chairwoman Jessica Zachs (shown here helping to pack bags), Dignity Grows has to date given out more than 6,500 totes.
• Helping Jewish families celebrate Shabbat had students packing up Shabbat bags with grape juice, snacks, challahs (donated by the Crown Market) and Shabbat candles with handmade cards. The packages were then brought over to the Anja Rosenberg Kosher Food Pantry for distribution. Food insecurity is rampant in the Greater Hartford community and Solomon Schechter students set out to help change that.
• Brightening up the environment for seniors living at Hoffman SummerWood in West Hartford was the goal of students as they created beautiful art projects, including decorated door hangers and picture frames.
• Third-grader Nava Elefant (below) and her classmates made sandwiches and collected snacks, then packed lunch bags with note cards that were brought to South Park Inn, a local organization that assists people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity by providing shelter and meals.