Hospital trip leads to mitzvah project

Sam Weiss, Temple Israel

A visit to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital unit at Missouri Baptist Medical Center for stitches last November motivated Sam Weiss to design a project that will ease the stress for future ER patients.

When Sam, son of Diane and Michael Weiss, was first admitted, a nurse asked if he would like to watch a movie. However, half of the movies Sam selected from the hospital’s list were not available.

When Sam found out that the nurses were personally purchasing DVDs and that half of them had disappeared, he decided to help. He turned this challenge into his mitzvah project.

After Sam’s stitches healed, he asked his family and friends to help him collect DVDs. On his computer he composed a letter asking for DVD donations, and mailed it with his bar mitzvah invitation to 200 friends and family.

At Sam’s bar mitzvah, a decorated collection box was overflowing with DVD’s. “They were all over the table,” Diane said. “We wanted him to select a project where he could really understand the needs of the people he was helping and make a direct impact. Watching a DVD at the hospital took his mind off of things. It was the right thing to do at the right time. And, he could connect with it.”

Still wanting to make a major DVD contribution to the ER, Sam made a second decision that would further increase the impact of his gift. He purchased $200 worth of DVDs with his own money — money that was given to him as gifts at his bar mitzvah. “My goal was to get as many DVDs as I could,” explained Sam.

“I was so proud of him,” said his father, Michael. “It was a great idea.”

On Wednesday, March 19, Sam, his mother, father, and grandfather, Papa Ray, joined Sam as he delivered the DVDs to hospital staff.

“When I received a call from Diane before the bar mitzvah asking if it was all right to donate the DVDs, I thought he’d bring in one or two dozen,” recalled Cori Miller, a nurse manager in the hospital’s pediatrics and special care nursery. “Last week, she called me on my cell phone stating that he collected over 100 DVDs. I thought my cell connection was bad…when he walked in with 119 DVDs I was speechless. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing…This is the first time any child has ever donated such a gift to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital unit at Missouri Baptist, and we’ve had PEDs up and running since April of 1997. “

Readers can help support Sam’s project by donating G-, PG- and PG-13 rated DVDs to Missouri Baptist Medical Center.

To highlight your child’s mitzvah project in an upcoming “Mitzvot from the heart,” call Elise Krug at 314-743-3671 or email [email protected].