Mitzvot from the Heart: Julia Stolker

Julia Stolker

Julia Stolker | Congregation B’nai Amoona

Julia insisted on helping a young homeless man she encountered on the streets of Philadelphia. He was holding a sign that said “clean socks or underwear please.” After convincing her parents, Sarah and Joshua Stolker of Creve Coeur, Julia ran across the street to Urban Outfitters and bought him a pair of socks. Underwear was much too personal for her.

Once back in St. Louis, Julia was inspired to get clean socks for as many homeless residents of our community as possible. She wanted to be able to hand them something useful besides money. Julia told her mother she wanted to meet as many of these individuals as she could, asking to drive her around to find people in need.

Knowing this was not the best idea, Julia decided to create personal care bags and donate them to a shelter. She filled plastic bags, labeled “A Helping Hand,” with donated toothbrushes and toothpaste from her orthodontist, items from the dollar store, water, granola bars, tuna and crackers, wet wipes, and of course, a pair of clean socks.

In the end, Julia donated 25 bags to the Biddle Housing Opportunities Center (formerly Biddle House). She wanted a non-religious organization whose residents were short term, thinking they could really use the supplies. She also gave 10 to 15 other bags to family and friends to have on hand if they saw someone who could use a helping hand.

Helping those in need is nothing new to Julia, a student at The College School. She is an active volunteer in National Charity League (NCL), a non-profit that provides hands-on-volunteer service for 24 philanthropic organizations in our community. She has received several service awards and spends much of her time volunteering at NCL philanthropy partners such as Angel’s Arms, Variety, KidSmart, JDRF, It’s your Birthday and Open Door.