• “Daniel needs to be away from home,” writes a case worker. Daniel’s widowed mother has health issues. They barely get by on their public assistance. “In our professional opinion, Daniel requires a healthy atmosphere this summer.”
• “We are being evicted,” writes a local mother. “I know our need for financial assistance is not unique in these times,” she adds. Her letter is filled with words like “dire” and “desperate”.
• “Our gas and electric are being shut off,” writes a local father. “I have heart disease and two of my children have severe issues that cause me to lose time at work.” His letter closes with a heartfelt “please, please, choose my children this year.”
Our desks are piled high with letters like these — each letter hopeful that the child or children it describes will be chosen for our summer camp assistance program.
Years ago, we started sending underprivileged children to summer camp for a variety of reasons:
• When the school year ends, many families have no safe way to both remain employed and care for their young children. Summer camp is an answer.
• When the school year ends, too many young children will have no respite from the realities of lives filled with their family’s poverty, a parent’s death or ill health, a parent’s unemployment, or their own ill health – unless they attend a summer camp.
• When the school year ends, many children with learning or physical disabilities will lose ground during the summer unless they can attend a specialized summer camp.
So you see, summer camp is no luxury for these children; summer camp is a safe haven of nutritious food, adult supervision, and healthy recreation. For some, summer camp provides a place to experience the simple care-free joy of being a child. For other children, summer camp provides desperately needed therapeutic support. Sarah, for instance, is a paraplegic with spina bifida. In addition to the physical challenges she overcomes on a daily basis, she was born to a large family that must overcome financial challenges on a daily basis. Your summer camp donation is the one hope her family has of getting Sarah the care she needs when the school year ends.
But why should you donate to the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island’s Summer Camp Fund?
We’re a responsible local choice for your charitable giving because we’re an extremely efficient nonprofit organization. In fact, every dollar we raise from this letter except for the minor cost of this mailing will go directly to sending needy, deserving children to camp.
And, frankly, the more money we can raise from compassionate individuals like you, the more children we can send to the summer camp they so dearly need.
The school year ends soon … there isn’t much time left. I hope you will see this not only as an opportunity to do true good, but as an opportunity to demonstrate thanks for your own good fortune by helping children who are less fortunate.
With thanks for your consideration and a heartfelt promise that your generosity will be directed to the children who need it most, I remain sincerely yours.
Rabbi Moshe Wiener
P.S. Though the extreme need of these children prompts me to ask for as generous a gift as you can manage as soon as you can, the reality is that every donation of any size at any time will help children who are living lives that none of us would wish upon our own children. On behalf of the children your generosity enables us to serve and my tireless staff who look forward to your support with deepest gratitude, thank you.
A generous benefactor has promised to match all gifts from new donors and past donors who didn’t contribute last year. If you did donate last year, he’ll double any amount you donate that exceeds last year’s donation. There’s never been a better time to make a contribution, so thank you in advance for making the most generous donation you can!