Hailey Rosenfield is a sophomore and serves as the SHAFTY Communications Vice President
NFTY brings thousands of Jewish teenagers from across the country together. People might ask the significance of NFTY and one might answer, “to form friendships” while another might say, “to learn about Judaism.” It took me a while to realize what made NFTY special to me as an individual. Of course I loved the weekends up at Camp Harlam and the memories I have made, but I feel that I really understood why I come back after I attended NFTY-PAR’s Summer Leadership Kallah this past August.
Like always, we do service projects at every event. This event, we chose to donate school supplies to the organization Cradles to Crayons. This Philadelphia based charity, provides supplies that kids need and may not be able to get on their own. Everything from notebooks to backpacks are collected and stored in a warehouse in West Conshohocken, PA, about 15 miles from Center City Philadelphia. Our region felt that it would be appropriate to donate school supplies with the school year quickly approaching. After the event, I volunteered to bring the donations to the warehouse and personally deliver them. My mom and I got in our car with the trunk loaded up with all new pencils, backpacks, binders, crayons, and so much more. West Conshohocken is what some might refer to as a “working class area” and it’s apparent when you get close to the warehouse. We backed into the parking lot, rang the bell, and a big garage door opened up with an entire room the size of a high school gym filled top to bottom with donations. A volunteer came and greeted us and offered us help to unload our car. When we opened up our trunk, the volunteer’s look of stress turned to one of the greatest smiles I’ve seen in a long time. He explained to us that the organization gets plenty of donations. However, many of the items they receive are used. Some items have to even be thrown away because they are in such bad condition. The volunteer sincerely thanked us and told us how much help we are going to be to the community and that our donations will help many kids in need.
That is when I finally “got it.” I finally understood what NFTY meant to me. If I were to donate a box of pencils it wouldn’t make much of a difference. But when you put a group of teens together who can truly do something to help, it can make a drastic change. Now I realize that for me, NFTY means coming together for a greater cause because we are much more powerful together than we are as individuals. When all of the kids brought their supplies, it didn’t seem like a daunting task. But all of us together, that is what is going to make a difference, and that is what NFTY is doing.