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Volunteers Pack It Up

Volunteers at Young Israel of Plainview spend time thinking outside of the box by sending food packages to families in need recently.

In advance of the Purim holiday, which took place on March 15 and 16, Young Israel of Plainview participated in a far-reaching effort to provide food for those in need. Known as Pack It Up For Purim, this fourth annual event brought out droves of volunteers to help with the efforts. The event is under the auspices of an effort known as Feeding Our Neighbors: An Interfaith Response, an initiative organized by the UJA Federation in conjunction with the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

While it is always important to help those in need, the effort bore additional significance due to the underlying themes of Purim.

During this yearly Jewish holiday, congregants, friends and neighbors alike take the opportunity to exchange baskets of food to one another, a hallowed tradition that began thousands of years ago. This concept of sending treats to those you know easily transitioned to the notion of giving food away to those in need. Many would argue that this recognizable parallel is not at all by coincidence.

When all was said and done, the event was a rousing success. The participants collected a tremendous amount of food items, donating the entire lot to the Alix Rubinger Kosher Food Pantry in Massapequa, a both willing and grateful recipient.

Iris Astrof, who can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and is a longtime volunteer at the pantry, was moved by the effort.

“We are so appreciative for the all the hard work and determination of the participants,” said Astrof. “Today’s efforts will go a long way toward helping a lot of people.”

Pack It Up For Purim also ended up raising close to $1,000, sufficient enough to now be able to provide additional food care packages for 60 families. These efforts, which will have a both real and significant impact in the communities involved, have not reached a conclusion but, rather, will continue on as an annual event, much like the Purim holiday it will coincide with.

Teen volunteer Sammy Gross was glad to be involved, saying that every family deserves access to a meal.

“A family having food to eat is not a luxury but a basic human right,” Gross said. “I wish we lived in world in which nobody had to worry about where their next meal was coming from. Until that day happens, I am happy to work with my friends and my synagogue to do my part to help out as many families in need as possible.”

News

Driving rain and cold temperatures could not keep Long Islanders from coming out to support the first annual DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, a fundraiser for Canine Companions for Independence. Held for the first time at Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa, dogs of all breeds and sizes came with their humans with one goal in mind; to raise funds for CCI.

Massapequa resident and event organizer Yvonne Dagger, past president and now board member, discussed the importance of the event.

For as long as she could remember, Christina Amato-Smith has always wanted to open her own hair salon. The Floral Park native worked at a salon down the road from her home, but it wasn’t until 1994 when Amato-Smith made good on her promise to herself.

“I came to Bethpage to open my business because my clients were here,” said Amato-Smith, who now lives in Lindenhurst and has owned Top Cuts for 20 years.

While her business has been met with much success, in 2008, Amato-Smith’s personal life was met with a life altering challenge when she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. It was this event that prompted Top Cuts to organize a cut-a-thon to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. This year’s event occurs on Saturday, Nov. 1.


Calendar

4th Annual Harvest Festival

Saturday, Oct. 25

Health and Wellness Senior Fair

Tuesday, Oct. 28

Haunted Halloween

Wednesday, Oct. 29



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