Mitzvot from the heart: Lizzie Bugalski

Lizzie Bugalski (left) collected books for St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Lizzie Bugalski

Congregation Shaare Emeth

Lizzie got the entire Crestview Middle School to have crazy sock day in honor of children with special needs. When she realized she could really make a difference there and in other peoples’ lives, she decided to start an after-school program, calling it Hands on Deck.

Getting the principal to agree to the idea was the first step. Next, Lizzie, daughter of Sandra and Steven Bugalski of Chesterfield, talked to her friends, posted fliers and publicized the program to the entire school. The committee began meeting once a week with 8-12 students attending. The first few meetings were spent brainstorming and coming up with an idea for a big community project. 

As a group they planned and organized a book drive to collect children’s books to donate to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. They choose this particular project because they wanted the patients there to have new book to read. At the end of the collection, hundreds of books filled the decorated boxes that were placed at the school. The hospital was thrilled to receive them.

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In addition to the book drive, Hands on Deck chose to help the custodians keep the school clean, and spent one hour each week after school picking up trash from the school grounds. 

Lizzie felt like she wanted to do more so she requested Hands on Deck to do a project in conjunction with her bat mitzvah. She encouraged everyone to bring can food items to her parties, which were then donated to the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry. “The food pantry was impressed with Lizzie’s desire to make a difference and do this as part of her bat mitzvah,” said Lizzie’s mother.

Unfortunately, Hands on Deck does not exist any longer but that will not stop Lizzie from making a difference wherever she goes.