By the time three-year-old Hillsdale resident Noah Price died of cancer in ‘005, his mother had already begun to help parents of other sick children.
"We were blessed with a network of people that developed to help us, taking on what we couldn’t handle," says Lisa Price, Noah’s mother. "There were hundreds of ‘regulars’ that we now consider family."
Price wanted to repay this kindness by helping other families, and she enlisted other volunteers to join her in this effort. Noah’s Gifts Foundation (NoahsGifts.org) was created in October "to help families with children fighting cancer and other chronic long-term illnesses," says Price, who says the group helps in "whatever way it can."
Besides raising money to help cover medical expenses, the foundation donates funds to pediatric cancer research. But much of the help is hands-on. Volunteers who now number about 150 provide respite care, sitting with sick children in the hospital so that parents can attend to basic errands.
"We take the burden off of the family by watching the child or the child’s siblings for a scheduled time," says Price. "The volunteers are trained," she adds. "I trusted them with Noah, so I know they’re good."
Some volunteers do errands and others cook meals. Yet another contingent tries to help families understand their treatment options by reviewing medical articles, attending doctor visits, and helping the families ask important questions. Price says the nonprofit foundation still needs volunteers to help with all aspects of its work, but especially with its Website, graphic design, media relations, and fundraising.
"We created the foundation because having been there we knew what families really need," says Price, who adds that those who came into contact with Noah were inspired by his courage and hope, and she and her family want to keep that message alive.
As part of the project, Price organizes fund-raisers and holiday gift boutiques. The Latkes for Love Campaign where the group teamed up with Foremost Kosher Caterers to sell Chanukah potato latkes by the dozen to shuls and schools was very successful, and Price hopes this year some yeshivas will select this organization as one of their monthly chesed projects.
The foundation includes a youth leadership arm "to make children aware of how they can make a difference in the world by taking specific actions," says Price. Children of all ages help with fundraising, especially through bar and bat mitzvah projects. She explains that tzedakah boxes may be included with gift bags for guests, together with a letter from the bar/bat mitzvah child asking that each guest try to fill the box with donations. In addition, b’nai mitzvah may decide to donate a portion of their gifts to the organization.
Price has also started a business, Jewels for Life, working with a designer to create jewelry bearing messages of hope. Like the work of the foundation, the jewelry is "a means of inspiring people to help others," says Price.
The bracelets including beaded pieces as well as items with semi-precious stones "come in a variety of designs and carry words such as ‘courage,’ ‘strength,’ and ‘hope,’" says Price, who adds that "people love the jewelry because not only are they objects of beauty but also because a portion of the money goes directly to helping families of sick children."
For further information about Noah’s Gifts Foundation or Jewels for Life, contact Lisa Price at ’01-341-9084. Price will showcase her jewelry on March ” at the Teaneck Jewish Center for Emunah of America’s fund-raising boutique.