MOUNT KISCO – As 13-year-old Jack Foster was driven to his Sunday bar mitzvah lessons, cheap the Bedford teen noticed a trend of Hispanic day laborers standing outside, waiting for work, week after week.
He made a decision to help, and organized a Thanksgiving effort yesterday to hand out almost 200 reusable red bags filled with Hershey bars, clementines, canned goods and toiletries in the parking lot of Neighbors Link Community Center on Columbus Avenue.
The bags were gone in about an hour, and the laborers could be seen walking down Mount Kisco’s sidewalks with their gifts.
“There’s very little offered to them due to their immigrant status,” Foster said. “They’re doing jobs we don’t want to do.”
He’s a member of the Mount Kisco Hebrew Congregation, and many from the temple community stayed with Foster all morning to help.
“We had about 70 people who came this morning to pack the bags,” said Rabbi Aaron Goldscheider. “A majority of the synagogue came out to help.”
Once the food bags were gone, members gave away the doughnuts they had brought for themselves.
Foster, who goes to Trinity School in Manhattan, had written a $4,000 grant application for the food. His sister Rebekah, 16, edited the application, and it was granted by the National Jewish Federation. November is Jewish Social Action Month.
Once the application was finished, they still needed a venue to distribute the food, which they found in Neighbors Link, which provided lists of ideal foods.
Many items were provided by Shop Rite, Mrs. Green’s Natural Market and the Flying Pig, and all were stored in the Fosters’ garage for six weeks. Rebekah Foster also cooked 175 chocolate chip cookies.
Jack Foster has been taking Spanish lessons. When asked if they came in handy for the giveaway, he said: “You don’t need to speak to them. Just a smile is great.”
Many congregations require some sort of community service before a teen becomes a bar or bat mitzvah, but Foster’s congregation doesn’t.
“That’s why it’s so much better,” said his father, Jon. “It’s something he wanted to do on his own.”
Reach Christine Pizzuti at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-696-8291.