June 14, 2024
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June 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

SAR Community Rallies for Bronx Fire Victims

After word of the devastating Bronx fire that took the lives of 17 victims and injured others, the SAR community quickly took action to help those in need.

“Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, principal of SAR Academy, and I immediately knew that as fellow New Yorkers and as a school based in the Bronx we wanted to help our neighbors in whatever way we could,” said Ariel Weiner, SAR parent and a lay leader of the school. “As the day continued and it became clear there was such a profound loss of life and so many injured and dislocated, we knew we could help in two ways: by asking our generous community to contribute funds to aid victims and by asking for needed goods such as clothing, food and household supplies.”

After consulting with local social service agencies and elected officials to determine how the school could be helpful, an email was sent out to the school community asking for financial contributions to be made to SAR’s Bronx Fire Fund, as well as clothing, food and essentials for the victims. Within 24 hours, tens of thousands of dollars were raised and tons of supplies were donated.

“We collected a bus full of clothing, food, and other supplies within one day and were able to deliver it all very quickly as our school is located just three miles from the site of the fire,” said Weiner. “The funds raised will be used to directly support victims of the fire.”

“In the aftermath of such devastation, I am incredibly grateful to SAR and the entire Riverdale community for their outpouring of love and support,” said New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi. “The SAR community immediately mobilized to collect and distribute donations—a true testament to their dedication to helping those during their darkest hour. Thank you to the SAR community and everyone else who stepped up to help our neighbors during such a difficult time.”

SAR’s tagline, “It’s not what you learn, it’s who you become,” is a philosophy adopted by its students.Their collective response to the fire is just one example of how they put their learning into action, and time and time again respond in times of great crisis. “SAR is a school but, more than that, we are a community that cares about one another and values helping others in need,” said Rabbi Jonathan Kroll, principal, SAR High School.

On Monday, students helped bring in donations, loaded the bus, delivered donations to Monroe College, and sorted the items for hours. Eighth graders stood side by side with experienced emergency response team members in lending their time to pitch in.

SAR High School Senior Eytan Saenger, who leads the Election Politics and Governance (EPG) Club which ran multiple candidate forums last year, has established connections with many elected officials throughout New York, including the elected officials who represent the area impacted by the fire.

“When I heard about the devastating fire, I immediately wanted to volunteer in any way that could be helpful and since I knew a few of the elected officials who were on the scene of the fire, I reached out to them to ask what people needed and how we could help,” said Saenger. “I helped organize the donations at the high school and went with Rabbi Krauss and the rest of the volunteers to deliver and unload the essentials that were donated. I also shared the information that SAR would be accepting both monetary and physical donations on Twitter (there were close to 50,000 views!) and sent it to the local elected officials to share. It was heartwarming to see the amount of supplies the community had donated by Monday morning, less than 24 hours from when SAR had sent out an email.” 

For the students and family members who participated, seeing the impact of their efforts was moving. “I was honored to travel to the collection site with our eighth grade students who loaded the dozens of bags and boxes of much needed items. While at Monroe College, we met one victim of the fire who needed new shoes,” explained Rabbi Krauss. “She was pulled out of her sixth floor apartment by the fire department and was still suffering from an injury and clearly in a state of shock. While looking for shoes in the immense heap of donations, she remarked how touched she was that people cared and hoped that she would do the same for us if the roles were reversed. She encouraged the students to keep up the good work and continue helping. And that’s what this is about—people helping one another in whatever way is needed—big or small.” 

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