Mitzvot from the heart: Chase Pultman

Chase Pultman, Congregation B’nai Amoona

Ki Tissa, Chase’s Torah portion, speaks to the literal counting of the Jewish people at the base of Mt. Sinai. He wanted the mission of the organizations he supported for his mitzvah projects to tie in with his portion.

Son of Mimi and Andy Pultman of Chesterfield, Chase said he believes there are many reasons why people who don’t always count in the eyes of others need to be treated equally and fairly. Attending the Jewish Community Center’s Mitzvah Camp allowed Chase to participate in a variety of community service programs including working at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, where everyone counts.

Chase’s second project was with Lift for Life Academy (LFLA), which his family has supported for many years. Chase followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Caleb, who had two successful school supply collection drives for LFLA. The academy was the beneficiary of Chase’s collection of new and gently used school supplies held last year at the school he attends, Rockwood Valley Middle School. “These school supplies were really needed because students at the Academy cannot afford to purchase their own,” he said.

Susan Kelter, LFLA community relations and volunteer manager said, “Chase did an incredible job reaching out to his community and classmates taking into account the needs of the LFLA students. So many of the students at LFLA live in extreme poverty, and at times, the families have to make a choice between paying their bills and purchasing school supplies. The bills always win, and that is why LFLA is so grateful for families like the Pultmans for their gallant efforts.” 

Last, during his family trip to Israel, Chase felt it was important to take time from touring and focus on children who are not as lucky as he. One place he visited was the Kfar Yeladim Center for Children at Risk in Jerusalem. While touring the building, Chase and his family were able to meet with some of the kids who live there. 

The founders explained that the children who live at Kfar Yeladim come from homes that are abusive, neglectful or have substance abuse problems. They move into the Kfar Yeladim residential facility so they can have a place where they count. Chase and his older brother, Caleb, gave the center a check from money they earned from doing chores at home. 

Ellie Lefton, Congregation Shaare Emeth

The resident pets at the Shirley Green Preschool at Congregation Shaare Emeth had the good fortune of having Ellie take care of them for six months. She chose this project because of her love of animals. “They are unable to help themselves and they’re also so cute,” she said. 

Ellie’s mother, Evan Lefton of Clayton, said they had looked into other volunteer programs, but they all had an age requirement that Ellie did not meet.

Every Thursday and Friday, during the past school year, Ellie would spend about 45 minutes cleaning cages and feeding the pets, some of which she had to learn how to care for, such as the sugar glider a nocturnal gliding possum belonging to the marsupial infraclass. Ellie fed and cleaned the cages for the guinea pig, sugar glider, and birds. She also watered the cages for the tarantula and cockroaches because they needed the moisture. “When I was finished with this project, I was happy I could help all of these animals get fed and cleaned. It was fun,” said Ellie.  

A student at Whitfield School, Ellie has two dogs, Clementine and Cody, and a beta fish named Bubbles. 

Mitzvot from the Heart is compiled by Editorial Assistant Elise Krug: [email protected].