Matthew Kaplan, Congregation Temple Israel

Matthew Kaplan and Brian Carter

Matthew, son of Jodi and Michael Kaplan of Creve Coeur, knows how fortunate he is just by eating a nourishing breakfast before school. Or by having a healthy snack prior to his sport practice and special food to celebrate a birthday or other happy occasion. He doesn’t take any of this for granted. Matthew realizes there are other kids that aren’t as lucky and he wanted to help them. 

For part of his mitzvah project, Matthew did chores around the house and yard work to earn his own money to purchase food to donate to the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry. There were enough bags to fill the back of his family’s Suburban.

New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

With his friend, Brian Carter, and other family members, Matthew spent many hours at the food pantry bagging groceries for the clients. They also made smaller packages of the fresh lettuce and donuts and assisted with whatever else was needed at the time. 

“Matthew enjoyed every component of his mitzvah project, even doing the chores to raise grocery money,” said his mother.  “Doing this with Brian and family and friends was fun.  There was a huge box, almost five feet tall and three feet wide, full of fresh lettuce that they bagged for hours, using stepping stools to reach down to the bottom of the box,” she added.  

 A student at Ladue Middle School, Matthew said, “the biggest impact this had on me was knowing that I helped give food to the less fortunate. Also, one day as I was bringing in food, a lady walked up to Brian and me and told us that we were doing a good thing, and that G-d will always be there for us. That blessing was a really nice thing to say and made me feel good.”

Matthew continues to volunteer at the food pantry through the Mitzvah Mania component of Temple Israel’s confirmation class.