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Tehiyah Students and Teachers Give Shoes for Those in Need in Ethiopia

Inspired by a Walnut Creek Patch story about aid in Ethiopia by a local nonprofit group, Doctors Giving Back, El Cerrito's Tehiyah Day School decided to help.

Students at Tehiyah Day School helped round up enough donated shoes to fill up the back of a minivan this week.

Every year at Tehiyah Day School the student council picks a charity for Tz’daka – a Hebrew term commonly translated as meaning charity, fairness or righteousness. 

“It’s really one of  the missions of the school," said Donna Sidel, the school's director of communications. "The kids here really take it to heart.”

The charity the student council chose to focus on this year – inspired by Tz’daka – was Doctors Giving Back, a non-profit group that provides medical care, shoes, teddy bears and other accessories to children living in poverty in Ethiopia.

Student council President Noah Bennett said the the school's Head of General Studies, Elise Prowse, "found . Then she brought it in and consulted me on it, and we decided, ‘We’ll do a shoe drive.’”

On Tuesday, Codde, a volunteer from Doctors Giving Back, came and helped load bags of shoes donated by the teachers and students into a van to be taken to Ethiopia after being sorted and paired. She is preparing for a flight to Ethiopia shortly to give aid to children there.

 “Most of the projects we do for the student council, like the spirit days and the dance, are for middle school, but the Tz’daka project brings in the entire school,” said seventh-grade student council representative Amalya Pensl. The school serves pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

Other organizations the student council has organized contributions for include My New Red Shoes, a project that provides children with new shoes and clothes on their first day of school, and Pennies for Peace, a program benefitting impoverished children through school contributions. 

Tz’daka also inspired the second graders at Tehiyah Day School this year. According to Sidel, they were sitting in class on a cold day and started discussing how some children don’t even have warm clothes. This spawned a commitment to getting clothes to people in need. They just gathered twenty bags of clothing for the Richmond Rescue Mission. 

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