Youths learn art of charity, raise $390,000 in one day

Published: March 27, 2006 | 3869th good news item since 2003

After hearing dozens of people turn him down, Max Vineberg picked up the phone on Sunday afternoon and struck gold.

“I got five dollars,” the 11-year-old yelled across the table to a young woman who also was working the phones. “I got a pledge. They said put me down for five dollars.”

Vineburg, of Cooper City, was one of about 100 young people who volunteered at the United Jewish Community of Broward County’s Super Sunday phone-a-thon, the organizations biggest fund-raising event of the year.

The phone-a-thon was held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Samuel M. and Helene Soref Jewish Community Center in Plantation and by the end of the day they raised a total of $390,000. The money goes to help two dozen local service agencies and programs, in addition to aiding Jews in need of assistance in Israel and around the world.

This year Karen Zemel, of Hollywood, and her son Quinn, 13, chaired the event. Quinn said he wanted to help out as part of his mitzvah, which means good deed, and he also plans to donate a portion of the gifts he received at his bar mitzvah to the fund-raising efforts.

This year, the phone-a-thon gave teens their own slot to work the phones from noon to about 3 p.m.

Quinn Zemel walked around the room handing out raffle tickets to the young volunteers when they landed a pledge. He said he figured the raffle for Miami Heat tickets would give the teens an incentive to keep going.

Wearing a sticker that said, “I’m Super,” young Max Vineburg just kept going. He said his reason for giving up his Sunday to raise money was simple, “My mom made me,” he said, quickly adding, “but I thought it would be great for the Jewish community, also.”

Rachel Mukamal, 12, of Hollywood, said ordinarily she would have spent Sunday afternoon playing outside with friends, but she heard about the fund-raiser at a bar mitzvah and figured she could lend a hand.

After about an hour she had six pledges, which she said added up to a few hundred dollars.

“If they say I can’t talk to you, I just say `Thank you for your time’ right before they hang up on me,” Mukamal said.

Aside from calling people for donations, volunteers also packaged 1,200 boxes of food to be distributed to Broward County Jews in need. The kosher food, including 1,000 kosher chickens, will be sent to homebound residents and various agencies that help families in need, organizers said.

Published in Charity, Kids & Teens
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