Mitzvot from the Heart: Mia Hollander

Mia Hollander (third from left) enlisted friends and family to take part in her mitzvah project, which benefited the Ronald McDonald House. 

Mia Hollander, Congregation Shaare Emeth

 Mia, daughter of Shari and Yale Hollander of Ballwin, has a special connection to the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) on West Pine Boulevard in the Central West End. Her mother and grandmother, Barbara Victor, were part of the original group of volunteers who painted the house before it opened in 1981. In addition, her grandfather, David Victor, has put together dozens of toys for the children to play with and her uncle, Robert Victor, did his Eagle Scout project at the RMH. 

When Mia found out that she would not be able to work directly with children at the RMH, she decided to do a project that would support the Family Dinner Program. Since she loves to cook and create, Mia chose to make a “Nacho Bar” dinner for 40 people. Joining her in this endeavor were five close friends and a few family members. Everyone thought the meal was delicious.

After dinner, Mia spoke to a RMH representative and found out they were in need of basic kitchen essentials. She decided to organize an online shower using both and Reaching out to family and friends via the Internet, Mia received items from all over the country. It was not unusual to find several packages waiting in front of their house everyday. She collected more than $700 in items, which she delivered to Ronald McDonald House. The items she donated included laundry detergent, plastic containers, cookware, serving pieces and personal hygiene products. Mia also used some of her birthday money to shop for additional items.

A student at Parkway Central Middle School, Mia said that she felt good after her project and happy that she was able to help others. “I was so happy that my friends were able to join me. I learned that helping can be fun and that we should be thankful for all we have; including our health,” she said.

Crista Dillinger, communications assistant of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of St. Louis, said, “At RMHC St. Louis, we could not be more grateful for Mia’s hard work and support. By preparing dinner and collecting Wish List items for our guest families, she has truly helped make our Houses a “home.” On behalf of the families who find comfort and care at the Ronald McDonald House each day, we extend a heartfelt thank you to Mia.”

While working towards her bat mitzvah, one of Mia’s friends lost her brother, Parker, in a tragic accident. His parents established a fund at Countryside Montessori to build a playground in his memory. Mia donated money towards the project, and if possible, would like to volunteer to help build the playground. She would also like to donate a permanent tribute to Parker; a bench, statue or birdbath.