Over a ton in care packages sent to troops for Purim

It all began in New City, New York when seven kids decided they wanted to make a difference. The students at ToTal @ HaMerkaz, a Sunday Hebrew school, were thinking how they could show their support and appreciation to the American soldiers that are currently serving overseas. They came up with a wonderful idea called “Purim Treats for Troops”.

After they created this spectacular program, they decided to spread the idea to all the other schools in the ToTal network (about 30 joined in). The idea was to create Purim packages, or Mishloach Manot, that are traditionally given to friends and family on the holiday of Purim, and then mail these packages to the soldiers stationed overseas so that they would receive them in time for the Purim holiday.

Each and every school made a difference; some schools made only two packages, while one school made seventy. But quickly the numbers began adding up. By the time the program was completed, over THREE HUNDRED packages had been mailed to troops currently serving around the world.

ToTal is the latest fad in Hebrew Schools that’s quickly gaining quite a reputation around the country. It provides a whole array of extracurricular know-how, curricula, and most of all programs like Purim Treats for Troops. The ToTal students participated in this amazing undertaking in many ways. Some schools took the children shopping for the food to include in the packages while other students brought in food from home. Children at the Park East Synagogue in New York City helped raise money for the shipping. All the students wrote letters of support and put the packages together. Some included disposable cameras for the troops to send back pictures and others provided hot kosher meals from Labriute. All the students had a great time knowing that they were connecting with their Jewish brothers so far from where they were and at the same time helping the soldiers enjoy the holidays while they are so far from home.

In Manalapan NJ, The Monmouth Torah Links program children and parents heard from Rabbi Menashe Miller, (Chaplain at McGuire Air force Base), and Rabbi Kroenenberg (Chaplain in Fort Dix and who will be spending Passover in Afghanistan). They spoke about the importance of what the children were doing and how it raises the morale amongst the troops when they receive packages and letters of encouragement from students back home. The students in New City, NY were excited to be sending packages to a Lieutenant who actually lives in their neighborhood. The Mt. Kisko, NY program shocked everyone when all the families contributed so much that they were able to make seventy packages to send overseas. The program ran at ToTal schools from coast to coast including cities like New City NY, Santa Monica CA, Tucson AZ, Jacksonville FL, Seattle WA, , Charlotte NC and Dallas TX. In attendance were local politicians, military personnel and all major media venues.

A special thanks goes out to all those who made this program possible, especially Mrs. Devorah Adler, Principal of the ToTal program in New City NY and the coordinator of the event. Special thanks go to Rabbi Lapp and the Jewish Welfare Board, “Jews in Green”, Rabbi Mitchell Ackerson, (who recently returned safely from Iraq), Labriute (www.labriute.com) and Artscroll (www.artscroll.com)

For more information about this program or the ToTal Talmud Torah Network, please call 877-ToTal-613. You can also visit our website at http://www.totally.orgor email ToTal at.