Healthy living, babies, and honoring outstanding women

Columnist Lois Caplan

By Lois Caplan

A TASTE OF HEALTHY LIVING, an intergenerational event from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 10 at the J’s Staenberg Family Complex, will combine fun activities for kids with a healthy kosher dinner for the whole family – grandparents, parents and children of all ages.

Funds raised from this program will help support daily meals for seniors, including Shabbat diners and home delivered meals.  Here’s a mind boggling statistic – the JCC provides 180,000 healthy meals to children and seniors on an annual basis. At a Taste of Healthy Living, in addition to a kosher dinner, families can explore ways to stay active, eat nutritiously and have fun. All this is yours for $10 for adults and $5 for children age 5 and younger, and besides, what else are you doing on April 10 at 4:30? You may reserve your places with Elizabeth Grimes, 314-442-3247 or on-line at [email protected] but do it before April 1. Also this will be a good opportunity to congratulate the Honorary Chairs – Alice Ludmer, Kitty Gross, Stephanie Ludmer Gross, Sally Katzif and Amy Bell – who are being honored for their leadership and contributions in the Jewish community.

THIRD ANNUAL SHOWER, hosted by the Women’s Connection of the Jewish Federation, will be a “Baby Shower” for the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry. This year the “shower” is for baby supplies and personal care items to help families in need.  Volunteers (that means you) are invited to collect and donate baby items such as diapers – small to pull-up size, wipes, baby shampoo, diaper rash ointment and baby lotion. No toys or clothing, please. For adults bring soap, shampoo/conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste. New this year is “no sew” fleece blankets for families served by the Food Pantry, so bring along sharp scissors for cutting the fabric.  Each blanket will be rolled up and tied with a ribbon with a personal note attached.

While working hard to make a difference volunteers will be treated to dessert (dietary laws observed). Admission to the “shower” is $12.  Free raffle tickets will be handed out for the chance to win a great prize. For those who cannot attend but would like to donate baby or personal items, drop them off at the Kopolow Building with Lynn Harris Goessen’s name on the bag.  To join the shower register by March 29 at or mail a check for $12 to Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Women’s Connection, #2 Millstone Campus Drive, St. Louis Mo. 63146.

NURSES FOR NEWBORNS strives to reduce infant mortality, teach parenting skills and prevent child abuse and neglect in the St. Louis region and further. “This is an incredible agency that has been doing work in the community to literally save children and strengthen families for nearly 20 years as a non-profit,” said Nanci Bobrow, president of Nurses For Newborns. “I believe that every child deserves a first birthday. That is why I invest my time, energy (and finances) to be President of a remarkable board of Directors.  We work along side a staff and nurses who truly live our mission.” 

Nurses For Newborn’s Dinner Auction Event will be held Sunday evening, April 17 at the Frontenac Hilton. For information and reservations contact [email protected] .


‘TIS THE SEASON to honor outstanding women in St. Louis.  Now it’s Women of Achievement’s turn.  Three Jewish women – Diane Katzman, Pam Toder and Fran Zamler – will receive a silver platter and a lot of kudos May 11 at the WOA luncheon at the Ritz-Carleton. Each of these women deserve more than a mere mention for all their outstanding work.

Katzman is known as a creative, prominent successful designer but few realize that she is a philanthropic giant. From the age of 10, when she created her first fund raising project for Muscular Dystrophy, she has raised funds for countless causes including American Heart Association, Alzheimer’s Association, Habitat for Humanity, the Wellness Community, Siteman Cancer Center, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Make -A-Wish Foundation and on and on. Perhaps most remarkable of her fund-raising efforts is the one that raised $577,000, allowing Missouri Baptist Medical Center to purchase the digital mammography van which is used in St. Louis and 12 rural counties for early detection of breast cancer.

Toder, a volunteer extraordinaire, has assumed a leadership role in the planning of educational outreach programs, especially for issues that focused on women’s health.  She was a leading light at Jewish hospital where she fundraised for medical equipment and research projects.  An active member of The Wellness Community, Toder helped their Celebration of Hope fund-raiser grow from a small to a high-income event. A founding member of Gateway to Hope, a not-for-profit organization that provides free breast cancer treatment and diagnosis to uninsured and underinsured women, she convinced Saks Fifth Avenue to select Gateway to Hope as one of the two recipients of the proceeds from its annual Key to the Cure Event. She is also a board member of March of Dimes, the Scholarship Foundation and Planet St. Louis, which she helped found.  As is this were not dyanu, Toder is known and respected as a hands-on volunteer.

Zamler, nominated for her Creative Philanthropy, is creative and philanthropic as well as caring and talented. Last year was probably the summit of her fundraising effort when KaleideHope, the first annual fundraiser for Gateway to Hope, raised over $50,000. In 2009 Zamler introduced and co-chaired with the St. Louis affiliate of Susan G. Komen “Dine Out for the Cure”.  For a full year she, with a co-chair, solicited restaurants and volunteers, signing up over 250 restaurants, from frugal to fancy and 150 volunteers. The event raised over $130,000 for breast cancer research, mammogram screening, treatment and education. She also has scripted and performed in hundreds of shows for children and older adults.  As a board member and volunteer for the National Council of Jewish Women, she has volunteered in their many programs from the Trouping Theatre to the Back-to-School store.

Phew, I did it, but this is just the tip of the iceberg about the three very special nominees for the Women of Achievement Award.