2017-02-15 / Voice at the Shore

Budding philanthropist Sam Goldstein makes note cards and volunteers to help

By ELLEN WEISMAN STRENGER
Voice shore editor


Sam Goldstein (at right) and his friend William Daley stock the shelves of the JFS food pantry. Sam Goldstein (at right) and his friend William Daley stock the shelves of the JFS food pantry. Sam Goldstein is a frequent volunteer at the JFS food pantry. He also recently donated $115 to the pantry, raising money by selling note cards.

But there’s more to the story: Sam, who is nine, is a fourth-grader at Seaview School in Linwood and attends Chabad’s Community Hebrew School. He enjoys tennis and piano, as well as helping others. Sam came up with the idea himself to raise money for JFS by selling stationery. Those note cards, which he made and sold with his parents’ help, were created using a picture he drew of himself stocking food in the JFS pantry.

Sam also has some big fundraising plans for the near future: He is hoping to create a new set of note cards to raise money for Seashore Gardens Living Center, where he is also a regular volunteer.

The importance of helping others and giving back to the community has always been stressed in Sam’s family. His mother, Jessica Goldstein, is on the board of JFS, and his father, Jason Goldstein, has been a long-time board member for Seashore Gardens Living Center. Both parents began taking their children along to volunteer at these organizations from an early age; Sam started helping at the food pantry when he was six. Yet even his parents are surprised by his level of devotion to helping others.

“Now that he’s nine-and-a-half, it’s become a part of him,” said Jessica, who takes him along to the JFS pantry once or twice a month. “He always asks me when we’re going to go there.”

Sam is truly disappointed that he can’t do more, she adds. “I’m always emailing [JFS] asking if there are things he can do because he wants to go all the time. But most volunteer opportunities are during the day when he’s in school.”

Why does Sam like volunteering so much? “It’s really fun to do. It brings lots of smiles. I like seeing smiles on the faces of people at Seashore Gardens. We go there and play Bingo and color and read with the residents. At the food pantry, I like sorting stuff and being organized.”

Sam occasionally invites friends to come along and volunteer with him as well. “I tell them we’re going to do a good deed. They like it when they come and do it. They don’t do it often so it’s a new thing for them,” he explained.

Sam came up with the idea to raise money by selling note cards after doing it for Children Making Change, a program that gets kids involved with raising money for a handful of charities of their choosing over the summer. Each child in the program decides for themselves how they want to raise money (see www.OurChildrenMakingChange.org). Some kids do lemonade stands or yard sales.

Sam, who likes to draw, chose to make his an art project. He designed a new logo for Children Making Change and made this the cover of his note cards. Dan Cellucci, owner of Copiers Plus in Egg Harbor Township, generously donated the cards.

After making the cards for Children Making Change, Sam realized he could do the same thing for the JFS food pantry. He made up a card with a drawing of himself in the food pantry on the front. The back of the note card reads: “Charity means helping in the JFS pantry in Margate. I stock the food on shelves, sort deliveries and pack up oatmeal. I fell special being there because I’m helping people in need. —Sam Goldstein, Age 9.”

Just after Thanksgiving, on “Giving Tuesday” (a special day, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, created to encourage donation to charity), Sam’s dad advertised the note cards on his Facebook page. “Please support Sam’s grassroots project to support JFS,” his dad wrote in the post, which included a picture of the note cards. “Purchase a pack of cards for $5 and 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the JFS food pantry to help feed those in need.” The post drew an enthusiastic response; within about two weeks’ time, Goldstein sold out of his stock.

On January 24, another Facebook post appeared about the project. This time, it was a post by the Jewish Federation of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, thanking Sam for his contribution and explaining how he made note cards to raise the money. There was also a photo of Sam presenting a check to JFS CEO Andrea Steinberg.

“Now he thinks he’s onto something!” Jessica exclaimed. After selling out of the JFS cards, Sam told her “‘maybe I’ll make some more for Seashore Gardens!’”

For Sam, it’s fun—with a very important purpose. “If everybody does a little, it’s a lot of goodness in the world,” he explained. “It makes the world a better place.”

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