May 28, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Jackson Schechter Runs Ping Pong Tournament To Support BC Chanukah Toy Drive

Seventh grader Jackson Schechter, son of Lisa and Jonathan Schechter of Englewood, conceived and organized a creative and fun chesed project during Chanukah this year as part of his bar mitzvah celebration.

Jackson orchestrated a large ping pong tournament on November 26 to help raise money for the Bergen County Toy Drive, which he and his family have supported in the past. He has volunteered at the drive with his siblings in the past, which is an experience he loved.

Bergen County Chanukah Toy Drive, started 29 years ago and based in Bergenfield, collects unwrapped toys and gifts for children and teenagers, and then distributes them to over 18 charities.

The idea for a ping pong tournament began with Joy Sklar, one of the Bergen County Toy Drive coordinators. Sklar told the Schechters that years ago TABC had run a ping pong tournament to raise money for the toy drive, but the structure of this event was different.

According to Lisa Schechter, “Jackson happens to love ping pong. He loves many sports, but ping pong is his current obsession! When I mentioned it to him he was so excited to be able to play ping pong to help a good cause.”

Jackson invited his entire grade of boys from The Moriah School in Englewood, as well as family from other local areas; friends from other schools who are in various sports leagues in which he participates, such as Bergen Broncos, TABC Floor Hockey, MGBL and friends from Camp Lavi. Approximately 30 boys took part in the tournament. All of Jackson’s friends attended and played in the ping pong tournament, which took place at Ready to Golf in River Edge and was organized and run by Coach Mike Dube of Elite Method.

The Schechters rented 12 ping pong tables so the boys could continuously play. The tournament had a suggested donation of $25 per participant, while the Schechter family matched what was raised. Jackson and his friends raised over $1,000 during the tournament.

Later, the boys went and picked out big-ticket items that Bergen County Chanukah Toy Drive needed. For example, some of the gifts bought were several pairs of AirPod Pros, DVD players, digital cameras and handheld gaming systems. The tournament winner and runner-up each received a pack of sports cards. Finally, a group of the boys went over to Bergen County Toy Drive headquarters to help pack up all the boxes and get them ready for pickup by some of the nearby, local organizations.

Jackson’s chesed project was both special and a beautiful mitzvah that raised more than enough money to buy the necessary, high-end toy items listed on the Bergen County Toy Drive’s registries. Jackson’s creativity and success were seen in the smiles on the children’s faces who received these items during Chanukah.

Jackson’s mom, Lisa, proudly stated: “It’s not only an important cause that helps so many people in our communities in need, but it’s an incredible hands-on opportunity for any volunteer who comes to help to see the sheer volume of toys given and the operation to divide them and get them to exactly who needs what, which is no small feat! As well, Joy is one of the loveliest people I have met. She does everything with a smile and in the most organized fashion. My kids and I look forward to volunteering there.”

By Julianne Yvette Katz

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