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For Young Judaeans, Thanksgiving Means Giving to Others

Lee Abramowitz

Caravan 4 Katrina Arrives in Jackson, MS With Toys for Relocated Hurricane Kids

(New York, NY -- November 22, 2005) -- With sirens blaring and lights flashing, a five-car police escort led Caravan 4 Katrina, into Jackson, MS last night. The convoy loaded with four truckloads of non-perishable food, toys, books and games was organized by Young Judaea, the Zionist youth movement of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. The trucklift was the brainchild of the high-school-aged Northeast Leadership Cabinet of Young Judaea, and was designed to provide food and toys for the Thanksgiving holiday to children who relocated to Jackson from the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

By the time the convoy reached Jackson, its four trucks had made 24 stops over the last 10 days. At each stop along the way Young Judaea club members turned out to greet and load the trucks, while various group activities were organized to cheer the Caravan on its way south.

Upon their arrival in Jackson, some dozen Young Judaean staff members, who drove and accompanied the trucks, offloaded 800 boxes of non-perishable food and children’s books and toys at the Noah’s Ark Relief Center, plus held children’s events at the local YMCA. Hundreds of kids and their parents turned out for the festivities, which included group singing and dancing and an art project to make decorations for their Thanksgiving tables.

According to the Rev. Sandra Logan of the Word of Faith Christian Center, “This was so important that humans reached out to humans and we were so moved that this initiative came from kids for kids.”

For the Young Judaeans, though the culture of helping is instilled in them through club activities, this particular activity was likewise moving. “It was a life changing event to walk into a place that needs you so much – and to be able to give not just from the heart, but to give them items they so desperately need,” said Marci Soifer, of East Lansing, MI.

One leg of the Caravan started last weekend in Savannah, GA and continued to Durham, NC and eight sites in Florida, including Miami, North Miami Beach, Clearwater, Davie, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Vero Beach and Maitland. It continued this week with one truck starting in the Northeast in Waltham, MA, continuing to West Hartford, CT, Peekskill and New City, NY, and a second truck beginning in River Edge, NJ, continuing to Whippany and East Brunswick, NJ before meeting up with the first truck in Wynnewood, PA. At the same time two other trucks swept the Southern tier, including stops at Chevy Chase, MD; Richmond, VA; Greensboro, NC; Atlanta, GA; Montgomery and Mobile, AL.

Yael Stern, 17, a high school senior in Morristown, NJ, and a member of the Young Judaea New Jersey leadership cabinet, who helped load the truck in Whippany, NJ on Sunday summed it up perfectly: “From community to community, from house to house, person to person, we’re making a difference right here, right now.”

Date: 11/22/2005 12:00:00 AM

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