‘All About Kindness’ and UJA-led program highlighted by participation of five local schools
An impressive 1,233 volunteers turned out for Lyudmila Mierova’s Queens-based “All About Kindness” annual MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 15. Student volunteers created hundreds of touching care packages for hospital-bound patients at New Hyde Park’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center and produced memorable arts and crafts for local senior citizens and neighborhood Jewish families experiencing unexpected crises. The program, held in collaboration with UJA-Federation of New York, served the greater Queens Jewish community by exhibiting unification through our shared values.
The morning activities at the Yeshiva of Central Queens saw most of their student body, 850 students, roll up their sleeves for a monumental undertaking in the spirit of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. “You guys were the heart and soul of our operation,” noted Mierova. “Your contributions will have a lasting impact.” The effect was realized just days later when video footage bearing messages of thanks and appreciation emerged from active members of the IDF who benefited from the passionately arranged parcels. In recognition of their volunteerism, each YCQ participant was gifted with a Pirkei Avot. As a bonus reward, an exciting raffle for a hoverboard and a scooter was also conducted for two different grades.
Empowered by Dr. King’s belief that every human being has the wherewithal to shepherd lasting change in our world, four other local schools, Chabad of Northeast Queens STREAM School: Early Learning Center & Academy, Yeshiva Sha’arei Zion’s elementary school and girls’ high school, and Solomon Schechter School of Queens, joined the community service efforts spreading optimism throughout Queens. This follows Mierova’s longstanding mission to use kindness, a smile, and a helping hand to uplift those struggling.
The unity endeavor of young changemakers in Queens resulted in 500 goody-bags crafted for pediatric hospital patients, 350 hygiene packs assembled to bring refreshment to those less fortunate, and 200 Shabbos sets prepared to ensure that every Queens Jewish household can celebrate our sacred traditions joyfully. Additionally, 500 care packages stuffed with love and essentials filled seven duffle bags jam-packed with winter gear to keep our beloved chayalim warm as they battle against Hamas terrorists in Gaza. The luggage was received and distributed by Just One Chesed, one of Eretz Yisrael’s many organizations that have stepped up since the Simchat Torah massacre. Eighty delicious cupcakes were also whipped up for patients’ family members visiting Cohen Children’s Medical Center, providing a little sweetness amidst the pain of those who are sick.
“More than just projects, these acts of kindness are building bridges of empathy and compassion,” related Mierova. “We saw the spark of Dr. King’s dream alive in every child’s eye, and that’s a feeling “All About Kindness” will hold onto forever.”
Working with a network of hundreds of nonprofits, UJA extended its reach from New York to Israel, integrating New York’s diverse Jewish neighborhoods guided by the good-hearted deed of giving back to humanity, embodying Dr. King’s dream of a brighter, more compassionate future. Faithful to MLK Day of Service, UJA conducted over 60 service projects with 29 partner organizations both on Sunday and the following day when the legal holiday was observed. Programming aided individuals and families residing throughout the five boroughs, Westchester, and Long Island. At CommonPoint Queens Sam Field Center in Little Neck, community members delightfully assembled soup packages that were later allocated via food pantries.
By Shabsie Saphirstein
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