Mitzvot from the heart: Sarah Bella Kline

Sarah Bella Kline

Sarah Bella Kline, Young Israel of St. Louis

Having her bat mitzvah around Hanukkah made it easy for Sarah to choose her mitzvah project. She decided to hold a toy drive for the Harvey Kornblum and the Tomchei Shabbos Jewish food pantries. Tomchei Shabbos supports Shabbat observant families who are in distress.

Sarah, daughter of Lizzy and Aryeh Kline of St. Louis, contacted her family and friends and requested they donate new toys to support her project. Collection boxes were set up in several places around town.  

Schnucks at Ladue Crossing also supported the toy drive. The grocery chain worked with Sarah and her family to have gifts available for purchase by its customers that could immediately be donated to her mitzvah project that day. “The customers were amazing,” said Lizzy. “People of all faiths and backgrounds were interested and receptive,” she added. Many of the customers purchased toys while others donated money that Sarah used to buy additional gifts. 

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Sarah was truly amazed by the generosity of so many. She collected more than 200 gifts, which were then displayed in the pantries for families to choose from for their children. Sarah collected an array of toys, including puzzles, games, dolls, Barbie dolls, cards, coloring books, books, and rainbow looms. “I loved seeing my project come together with the toys displayed so nicely at the pantries,” she said. 

A student at Epstein Hebrew Academy, Sarah chose to include the Barbara Mendelson Tomchei Shabbos Fund because the first yahrzeit of Merle Hartstein, founding member and tireless supporter of the organization, occurred just before the start of Hanukkah. Sarah wanted to honor Hartstein and felt the donation of toys was especially fitting.

“Mitzvot from the Heart” is compiled by Editorial Assistant Elise Krug.