One person and one idea can bloom into something powerful that changes the world. Robbie Aboff, Chazaq Events Coordinator, saw a special chesed taking place in his community in West Hempstead, and he was determined to bring that chesed to Queens. The result was eight distributions. Chazaq/Chickens for Shabbos distributions have brought so much light and love to so many. The idea was to contact large companies, and they would donate goods for the distributions. Over the past couple of months, the distributions focused on widows, agunos, divorcés and divorcées, moros, and m’chanchim. Sometimes they would be specifically available for one particular group. The overwhelming response was extreme gratitude that a need was being met in such a dignified, beautiful way. “We want to thank our partners at Olam Chesed for arranging the goods that we distribute at the distributions. Most of the expenses of the distributions are covered by the generous support of Chickens for Shabbos.”
Many people reached out to Chazaq this season, asking when the next distribution would take place and requesting that it be before Chanukah. Amazingly, with Hashem’s help, the first distribution was planned after five days of preparation. It usually takes much more time to organize, but with team effort, it came to fruition with a smooth, outstanding result.
Robbie called it a Gan Eden of choices. The Ner Mordechai ballroom in Kew Gardens graciously opens itself to these distributions. On Tuesday evening, November 23, the ballroom was magnificently turned into a store. All sorts of items were on display, like huge electronics, keyboards, phone chargers, head phones, Bluetooth devices, children’s clothing, adult robes and clothing, cosmetics, baby items like wipes and diapers (Chazaq takes care of all ages – infant through adult), blankets, and lots of toys for Chanukah presents. Olam Chesed brought the donations from big companies like JCrew, Old Navy, Amazon, etc. Kmin Urgent Care was there, too, offering COVID tests, as well.
When you walk into the distribution, you think it’s just a simple operation, but, in fact, hours of work go into this, behind the scenes. The truck comes with a myriad of pallets filled with items, and the team of Chazaq volunteers, including the whole Aboff family, are at the site, ready to unload and begin sorting and organizing the wares onto tables for display.
Robbie compares it to a feast. You see the food in its finished form but not all the work and preparation that goes into making the feast.
When this writer arrived on the scene, many people were leaving with boxes and stuffed bags of goods and, most importantly, big smiles on their faces.
One kind volunteer stands in the front of the ballroom welcoming the participants. Everyone feels welcomed and cared about.
Mrs. Aboff, Robbie’s mom, shared that one woman came all the way from the Lower East Side and another came from Brooklyn to benefit from the distribution. This particular distribution was open to moros and m’chanchim, divorcés and divorcées, agunos, and orphans. Over 200 people came and benefited. Most of the moros and m’chanchim were from local Queens yeshivos. How special it is that our community offers our support to those who educate our children in Yiddishkeit.
“We choose which goods to offer based on what is popular,” Robbie shared. What a beautiful mitzvah to partake of! Imagine how much joy is being brought into so many families and what a relief it is for those who are struggling economically to receive these gifts. It’s also a big emotional boost for some to know that the community cares and we are really there for each other.
Chickens for Shabbos is an organization specializing in helping families of agunos, g’rushos, and m’lamdim. It helps 300 families of m’lamdim and 110 families of agunos and g’rushos.
It privately tutors 222 children of agunos and g’rushos, including boys and girls. This translates into thousands of neshamos that are begging for help. This tz’dakah operates at zero overhead. There are no words to express its gratitude for the community’s support. The neshamos you help will be and advocate for you. Robby Neuman asks, “Please help us at ChickensforShabbos.com. The one goal of this tz’dakah is to take away the pain of poverty and replace it with great memories.”
What a z’chus it would be for all of us if you would help us in this endeavor by donating to ChickensforShabbos.com, which will now be l’zeicher nishmas Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld zt”l, who was the founding partner of Chickens for Shabbos, the charity that operates with zero overhead.
By Susie Garber