Carter Haber helps Samaritan House as mitzvah project
What a delight it was to hear from our good friend, Tricia Carter-Haber, who updated us on the mitzvah project of her and Howard Haber’s son Carter. When reviewing his bar mitzvah project options, Carter chose to assist the children of Samaritan House. The agency houses low-income families with parents suffering from HIV/AIDS.
When Carter met with Family Health and Education Coordinator Rick Isaminger to explore possibilities for a project, he learned that the agency still needed presents for its Angel Tree. AirRite Air Conditioning had agreed to donate presents for 20 children, but there were still 51 children without a sponsor. Not one to think small, Carter stepped right up and offered to find donors for all 51. Another two names were later added to the list. At a suggested level of $50 per child, that would mean raising over $2,600. “I’ll take care of them,” he said. “Not everyone understands about AIDS and how hard it is for these kids.”
Carter went about fulfilling his commitment with zeal and with a sincere desire to help children who otherwise would face a bleak holiday. Following his English teacher’s advice, he approached potential donors face-to-face rather than by e-mail. His results have been spectacular: over $6,000 had been raised at press time, including a dollar-for-dollar match by Merrill Lynch, Tricia’s employer, for donations made by its employees. The managers’ group at Merrill Lynch also pooled the money they would ordinarily have spent on gifts for each other and donated the money to Carter’s project.
Raising the money was only the start. Carter had selected Samaritan House partly on the basis of the fact that the agency would supply him with wish lists made by each child and would allow him to choose the presents. Carter took this responsibility seriously, learning the names and wants of each child and going out of his way to get exactly what had been requested. After mammoth shopping expeditions to Old Navy (which supplied a bag for each child) and Toys “R” Us (which opened an hour early to help Carter select toys and donated a $50 gift card), the Haber garage began to resemble a well-organized warehouse.
For the next step in the process, Carter used a $100 donation collected at a family gathering to buy wrapping paper. Every evening he brought the presents for 10 of the children into the living room for wrapping, doing most of the work himself. When everything was complete, the Samaritan House van was dispatched to collect the 53 bags. On Dec. 15, the Youngman Family Room became Santa Central, with Samaritan House parents picking up a bag of presents specifically tailored to each child’s wishes.
For a volunteer project of this scope, an experienced adult would face considerable challenges. For a 12-year-old just embarking on a lifetime of doing “good deeds,” it is a remarkable achievement. Carter’s parents and Beth-El Congregation have much to be proud of. Not only has Carter demonstrated considerable acumen as an organizer and fundraiser, he has also shown clearly that he understands the very personal nature of the way in which Samaritan House helps its residents recover their health and their lives. Compassion is hard to teach, but it’s clear that Carter has learned that lesson and is well-equipped as a doer of good deeds.
Carter will celebrate his bar mitzvah on Feb. 19 at Beth-El Congregation. He will continue to collect donations for Samaritan House and can be reached at email@example.com.
Arlington gets menorah display, courtesy of Chabad
Chabad of Arlington’s Rabbi Levi Gurevitch arranged for a menorah display in a public place (Veteran’s Park) and on the fifth night of Chanukah, Chabad and friends threw a party with latkes, dreidels, sufganiot and music. Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck lit the shamash, and Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County Director Mort House lit the first candle.
CAS Shabbat dinner set for Dec. 31
Congregation Ahavath Sholom invites the entire community to welcome Shabbat with a festive reception and Shabbat dinner for the whole family on Dec. 31. Kabbalat Shabbat service begins at 6 p.m., followed by a champagne reception at 7. Dinner will follow from 7:30 until 9. Cost per adult is $25; per child, $10. While everyone is welcome, reservations are a must, so call today. Deadline for reservations is Dec. 22. Please RSVP by calling the synagogue at 817-731-4721.