The John F. Kennedy Family Services Center welcomed special visitors on Tuesday, April 27, who came bearing gifts of hand sanitizer bottles for teachers and for staff doing community outreach.
The hand sanitizer was donated through the “Helping Hands” project of the Consulate General of Israel to New England and the company, Ocean State Job Lot. The Consul General, Meron Reuben, personally made the delivery along with Ruth Kaplan, Director of Community Relations for the Consulate. The welcome at the Kennedy Center playground included a cheer of “Shalom!” from the children and teachers of Room 6, who already knew Mr. Reuben from a storytelling session via Zoom.
“We are very grateful for the donation,” says Thara Fuller, Executive Director of the Kennedy Center, “because our staff go through gallons every week between preschool teachers and outreach staff like our senior caregivers. It can be difficult to maintain a consistent supply.”
The Kennedy Center was founded in 1964 with Head Start early childhood care at the heart of the work: a holistic model providing “wraparound supports” for young families of limited means. The Center’s work has adapted over five decades to serve those experiencing challenges around basic needs, whether children or elders. During the COVID pandemic the Kennedy Center has served as a lifeline for vulnerable neighbors, coordinating check-in calls and posting online resources to reach isolated individuals; distributing hundreds of “care kits,” hundreds of bags of groceries, over 10,000 grab and go meals; and “school-in-a-bag” education materials for children in remote learning programs.
As explained by Ms. Kaplan, the Helping Hands initiative is part of the commitment of Israel and the Consulate General of Israel to exemplify Tikkun Olam: “making the world a better place.”