On Monday, January 15, Bukharian Jewish charity All About Kindness partnered with UJA-Federation of New York for the second consecutive year in leading a day of community service in honor of African American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
Incredibly, over 1200 volunteers across five schools in Queens compiled goody bags, care packages, Shabbat sets, and hygiene packs (toothpaste, soap, deodorant, etc.), and more, which All About Kindness distributed to the Bikur Holim at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, and is sending to soldiers in Israel via Just One Chesed.
(Grades 1 through 4 packed items for the hospital, and grades 5 through 8 packed care packages for the soldiers.)
«Dr. King believed that every single one of us has the power to make a difference in the world. And that’s exactly what we did, one smile and helping hand at a time!» said All About Kindness founder Lyudmila Mierova.
«In the spirit of Dr. King’s dream, we joined forces with five amazing schools today to spread some kindness in our community!» she added. The schools were: Schechter Queens, Yeshiva Sheare Tzion Elementary School, Yeshiva Sheare Tzion High School for Girls, Yeshiva of Central Queens (of which there were 800 volunteers), and the Chabad of Northeast Queens.
Together, they crafted 500 goody bags for the children at the hospital, assembled 350 hygiene packs «to help those in need feel refreshed and cared for,» prepared 200 Shabbat sets «to ensure everyone can celebrate their traditions joyfully,» made 500 care packages «filled with love and essentials,» packed 7 duffle bags with winter gear «to keep our loved ones warm and cozy,» and the girls at Yeshiva Sheare Tzion High School «whipped up 80 delicious cupcakes for the families in the hospital because everyone deserves a little sweetness!»
Additionally, 800 children received copies of «Pirkei Avot» («Ethics of Our Fathers») as well as a gift from All About Kindness. There were also two raffle winners; prizes were a hover board and scooter.
More than just projects, these acts of kindness are building bridges of empathy and compassion. «We saw the spark of Dr. King’s dream alive in every child’s eyes, and that’s a feeling we’ll hold onto forever,» said Mierova. «It’s the simple acts of kindness that spread a wave of positivity and make the world a brighter place. What act of kindness will you do today?»
Every year on MLK Day, the UJA — the largest local philanthropy in the world — partners with a variety of agencies and organizations that can leverage a large volunteer base because the aim of MLK Day — the only federal holiday that is a national day of service — is to make communities across America more equitable. This is the second year in a row that UJA invited All About Kindness to be an official partner in its MLK Day activities, much thanks to UJA’s Bukharian Liaison David Aronov’s recommendation last year.
«Because of All About Kindness’s large base and mission, UJA invited the organization to participate,» Aronov explained in a call last year. It’s also the first Bukharian organization to partner with UJA in a number of years, according to Aronov.
«I’m very honored to continue making a difference, and with the help of Hashem may we keep growing,» Mierova said, reiterating her thanks to UJA and to all the partner schools and volunteers who made the day possible, especially Sigalit and Daniela Shamayeva, Diana and Mazal Hiaeve, Shirley Kaikov, Nahal Gholian, Margarita Sionova, Lena Harris, Oksana Davidov, Angela Shimunov, Dora Nektalov, and David Aronov.
«You were the heart and soul of the operation, and your contributions will have a lasting impact,» said Mierova.
Photo credit: Leya Yusupov (@leya_y_photography). To stay abreast of All About Kindness’s activities, please follow the charity on Instagram: @allaboutkindness613. To otherwise donate and support, visit www.allaboutkindness.org.