May 28, 2024
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Yad Leah Plans First Ever 5K Dash for Dignity

What began back in 2004 with two friends sorting through closets with clothing to donate to Israeli families has since grown into a huge operation with multiple drop-off locations and a tremendous network of volunteers. Yad Leah, a non-profit organization, works tirelessly to collect, sort and ship new and gently used clothing to low-income�

families in over 23 communities throughout Israel. Founder and Director Jessica Katz describes Yad Leah as “an organization for Klal Yisrael.” Indifferent to religious affiliation or political orientation, Yad Leah seeks to help any Jew in need.

Since starting Yad Leah, Katz has learned of the multitude of poverty-stricken communities in Israel. She has also encountered many people in and around Bergen and Passaic Counties who thankfully have what to give and want to do chesed. The way she sees it, it’s a win-win situation. While the organization has expanded tremendously in the last few years, there is more that can be done. Currently, Yad Leah sends shipments to each community they service about three times a year. “These people need more and we have more to send,” Katz explained. Cargo costs are the challenging part of the project and the organization relies on dedicated supporters to facilitate the process.

On November 11, Yad Leah will host its first ever Dash for Dignity, a 5K run/walk at Overpeck County Park. The Dash for Dignity is open to all ages and levels of participation. Participants can sign up for the one-mile family fun walk or the 5K USATF-certified run. Professional trainer MB Klyman of Underground Training in Tenafly will offer warm-up exercises prior to the run. The event will include a gourmet breakfast along with activities for children and musical entertainment. There will be an awards ceremony following the race for the runners coming in with the best times.

Individuals and groups are encouraged to join the event. Those who sign up in groups of 30 or more will be given a VIP tent that will permit them to bypass the registration process. Participants can pre-register for $30 and can share their page with family and friends who would like to support the cause. There are no solicitations required, but those who raise $500 or more will be eligible for an assortment of prizes.

Yad Leah collects clothing for everybody, but often children are in dire need. Katz recently shared the following story, which poignantly depicts the circumstances Yad Leah is striving to change:

The entire class was counting down to Wednesday, the day of the big end-of-the- year trip, the highlight of fourth grade. But when the big day came, Avi was not there. He told his mom he had a stomachache, but he was really hiding under his blanket, ashamed because he didn’t have sneakers, a bathing suit and a knapsack to carry his stuff.

No kid should be robbed of his childhood because he does not own clothes that fit. Donations provide kids like Avi and his entire family with basic clothing essentials so that they can wake up each morning ready to face the day with dignity, pride and confidence.

By raising awareness about the situation and inspiring people to help, Yad Leah aims to alleviate poverty throughout Israel in a dignified and respectful manner. The goal of the Dash for Dignity is to raise enough funds to send two containers totaling over 130,000 beautiful warm winter items of clothing for needy families in Israel.

Please come out on November 11 with family and friends for a fun-filled day and support this meaningful organization. For more information or to pre-register for the event, please visit www.wizathon.com/dashfordignity/� or www.yadleah.org.

By Andrea Nissel

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