Mitzvot from the heart: Stephen Yoffie

ABOVE: Stephen Yoffie (center) and friend Jacob Collins are shown with JCC Camp Director Chris Horan. Horan told campers he would shave his head if they collected more than 500 canned goods. They reached their goal, and Horan made good on his promise.

- Mitzvot from the Heart is compiled by Jewish Light Editorial Assistant Elise Krug

Stephen Yoffie, United Hebrew Congregation

Stephen Yoffie was up to the challenge presented by Chris Horan, director of the JCC Sports Camp. At the end of the first week of camp, Chris told his campers that he would shave his head if they could bring in 500 cans of food by the following Friday.

Volunteering as a counselor’s assistant at the camp, Stephen and his good friend, Jacob Collins (working on his mitzvah project as well), wanted to make sure the campers won the challenge. Together they brought in 550 cans, purchased with their own savings and brought in on the due date. Needless to say, the campers were so excited.


With over 800 total cans of food brought in, the entire camp enjoyed watching Horan have his head shaved. The real winner, though, was the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, and that left Stephen feeling proud.

Son of Leslie and Barry Yoffie of Town and Country, Stephen chose this project because he really enjoys helping and working with younger kids that are still developing their social awareness. His commitment for the project lasted three weeks. As a counselor’s assistant, he helped set-up for the daily activities, assisted the kids throughout the day and cleaned up at the end of the day’s program. He especially enjoyed the positive interaction with the younger kids. An added bonus was being able to participate with the Shabbat Service each Friday afternoon. This was very meaningful to him.

Stephen had been looking forward to participating in his mitzvah project. He felt this was an important part of his bar mitzvah and the start of his adult duties to the Jewish community. Stephen has always shown a passion for the food pantry, having given a portion of his Hanukkah money to buy food for the past three years. Most recently, Stephen became a member of the B’nai Tzedek Youth Philanthropy. His first allocation was to the Jewish Food Pantry. Stephen put it really well when he announced, “This worked out really well – two mitzvahs in one!”