Mitzvot from the Heart: Devin Tockman

Mitzvot from the Heart is compiled by Editorial Assistant Elise Krug

Devin Tockman, United Hebrew Congregation

When Devin thought about doing a mitzvah project, a few different ideas came to mind. He definitely knew he wanted to do something that would benefit kids who were less fortunate than he. 

One of the projects Devin chose was working with his grandmother at the Jewish Women International (JWI) gift-wrap station in Chesterfield Mall during the past holiday season. As there is no charge for the service, customers are requested to make a donation, which then goes to benefit Camp Rainbow. “Some people donated $1, but most gave a lot more,” said Devin, son of Laura and Gary Tockman of Chesterfield. 

JWI raised about $3,000 for Camp Rainbow, which provides free camping experiences to children undergoing treatment for, and survivors of, cancer and other blood-related diseases. “I look forward to summer camp each year, as do most kids I know, and I feel bad for kids who are sick and have never gotten to experience camp. The money we raised helps them to be able to go to a special camp for free,” Devin added.  

The second project Devin chose to do was in honor of his grandfather, Barry Mandel, better known as Pops, who passed away last December. Pops volunteered in the Ronald McDonald Family Room located on the 3rd floor of Mercy Children’s Hospital. 

“I remember him going to Sam’s to buy snack foods, plastic silver ware, and cleaning products, all to restock the Family Room,” Devin said.

 The Family Room, the first of its kind in the St. Louis area, provides families a place to rest and relax, away from the hospital setting, while their child is receiving treatment. They can do laundry, grab a bite to eat, and take a nap without having to leave the hospital. 

Devin wanted to follow in Pops’ footsteps. “Since I was too young to volunteer, I decided I would take my own money and buy things on the Family Room wish list,” he said. “I asked my mom if she would take me to do this every few months.” 

Devin spent about $50-$60 and bought individually wrapped snack food, travel size shampoo and conditioner, soap, toothpaste and laundry detergent. “Not only was I honoring my grandfather, but I was also helping the families of sick children,” he said.

The first time Devin brought his donation to the Family Room, he was able to tour the Ronald McDonald House, as well as the Family Room. “They are really cool and they offer so much for the families,” said Devin, a student at Crestview Middle School. I look forward to my next donation.