Azeyah Boyd, Congregation Shaare Zedek

Azeyah Boyd, Congregation Shaare Zedek

The St. Patrick Center and Sunshine Mission homeless were kept a bit warmer last winter thanks to Azeyah and his family. Azeyah loves to help people and he wanted to make a difference in at least a few of their lives.

Son of Bilgah Israel of Florissant, Azeyah raised $300 from family contributions and purchased 15 heavy-duty army blankets that were donated to these shelters in St. Louis city. The blankets were then distributed among the homeless on the streets. “I wanted to buy blankets that were going to keep people insulated and warm while lying outside in the St. Louis cold winter,” he said.

Azeyah and his family also volunteered more than 20 hours at the shelters by making lunch bags and preparing dinners to feed the homeless. “Much of the work that goes on in shelters is done by volunteers so Azeyah knew that volunteering whatever services the shelter could use would be very useful,” said his mother.

Organizing a 3-on-3 basketball tournament with friend Noah Hartman to benefit the Richie Spirit Foundation was Azeyah’s second project. Held last April at the JCC in Creve Coeur, eight teams participated and raised $2,000. “Working on this project was a great way to help children in need,” said Azeyah, adding that he hopes to sponsor more basketball tournaments in the future.

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Established in 2008 in memory of organ donor recipient Richie Herskowitz, the Richie Spirit Foundation’s mission is to promote organ donation to people of all ages, through their innovative programs and meaningful grants. In an effort to spread Ritchie’s love for basketball and to keep his memory alive, it hosts “Hoopin’ It Up for Ritchie” tournaments which raises awareness about organ donation while playing Ritchie’s favorite sport.

A student at the Solomon Schechter Day School, Azeyah said, “I was glad that I was helping people in need. I felt proud and thankful that I could help them. I know that if I were homeless or sick that I would want someone to think about me and help me. So I just put myself in their shoes and came up with ideas that would help people have a better life.”