Mitzvot from the heart: Rachel Krug

Rachel Krug

Rachel Krug

Congregation B’nai Amoona

With so many worthwhile organizations in the community, Rachel found a hard time choosing just one for her mitzvah project. Instead, she opted for three, two of them supporting St. Louis children.

Her first project benefited ConKerr Cancer – “A case for smiles.” This organization started when Cindy Kerr’s son was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 and she began making pillowcases to brighten up his hospital room and put a smile on his face.  He loved it that she began making pillowcases for other children in his unit. Today, there are over 117 ConKerr Cancer chapters worldwide (including Israel) and they have delivered over 315,000 pillowcases to hospitals around the globe.

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Making pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer also brought a smile to Rachel’s face. She loved selecting the fabrics, making sure they would be soft to the touch, and finding fun prints for boys and girls to enjoy. Now that Rachel knows how to sew, she plans on continuing this project.

Lydia’s House was the recipient of Rachel’s second project, making fleece blankets. “It makes me sad to know that there are women and children that are badly treated. Hopefully my blankets will make them feel a little better and let them know that someone else is thinking of them,” said Rachel. “If it wasn’t for places like Lydia’s House, these people would be freezing cold in the winter, have no heat, no home and nothing to keep them warm,” she continued.

A place of healing and a voice of hope for abused women and their children, Lydia’s House is an organization that works to end domestic violence.

A few years ago, Rachel’s grandmother in Fort Worth, Texas read about a project, which some junior high school students in Bedford, Texas were doing. Rachel, daughter of Elise and Mark Krug of Creve Coeur (Elise is an editorial assistant at the Jewish Light), read the story and knew she had to get involved.

After studying the Holocaust, reading “The Diary of Anne Frank,” and watching the movie “Paperclips,” the students were inspired to create a project of their own honoring Anne Frank. They decided to collect 6 million yellow pencils to represent the 6 million Jewish people who died during the Holocaust. They also learned that Anne Frank’s writings and stories were done in pencil, the eraser symbolized the lives that Hitler erased and yellow represented the Jewish stars that the Jewish people were forced to wear.

Once the goal is reached, the school would like to build a memorial to Anne Frank and the 6 million who were killed. The pencils will most likely be sent to children around the world who might not otherwise have the tools with which to write their own stories.

Rachel reached out to family, friends, and members of B’nai Amoona to support her project by donating yellow pencils. In addition to her article in the B’nai Amoona bulletin and a request in her Bat Mitzvah invitation, Rachel had a drop-off box in the B’nai Amoona lobby for anyone that wanted to make a contribution. In total, she collected over 4,000 pencils.

The next time Rachel visits her grandmother, she would like to deliver the pencils personally to the school. She said, “I feel so good that I am helping kids as well as remembering the people who suffered in the Holocaust.”

A student at Ladue Middle School, Rachel is thankful for all of the good things in her life and is happy that she had these opportunities to do for others. For more information about ConKerr Cancer and Lydia’s House, please visit their web sites at www.conkerrcancer.org and www.lydiashouse.org.