SARASOTA, FLA. — Students at Hershorin Schiff Community Day School raised money to help orphans who left their country to find safety during the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
Joannie Bloch, a 5th-grade teacher at Community Day School, said her students were curious about current events and the world around them.
A month ago, one of her students asked, "Why do we learn about history if it happened in the past?" Weeks later, she said her students became worried about the families fleeing Ukraine.
"It felt really upsetting because they were these innocent people that don't know what they're going to do. They have to flee. They have to leave everything behind. Some people can't escape because they don't feel well or they're old and it's just really upsetting," said Miles Meredith, a 5th grader.
The students collected money since the beginning of the school year. Typically, the students pick a cause at the end of the year and donate the money, but students decided not to wait. They donated more than $500 to the Mishpacha Orphanage Odessa.
"We raise the money through a system at Shabbat. We do it every Friday, some people bring in tzedakah which is a couple pennies, a dollar," said Ari Rahman, a 5th grader.
"A little pennies, quarters, nickels, dimes, sometimes even a dollar or two can make a real big difference," he added.
Students also made cards or letters to send to the children. Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz helped connect the students to the orphanage. The money will buy necessities like food and shelter. He said 83 orphans escaped Ukraine in ten buses. The orphans crossed four borders.
"By miracles, sheer miracles, they were able to cross four borders. They went from Ukraine to Moldova, from there to Romania, from Romania to Hungary from Hungary to Germany," said Rabbi Steinmetz.
The students hope their donation inspires other acts of kindness.
"I think the world definitely needs a bit more kindness, especially during what's going on," said 10-year-old Norah Ceaser.
Anyone interested in donating to the Mishpacha Orphanage may drop off a check at the school or at Chabad Lubavitch of Sarasota & Manatee Counties on Beneva Road in Sarasota. Donations are also accepted online.