CORAL SPRINGS, FL – Shortly into a food distribution event at Chabad of Coral Springs, Eric Young and his son, Spencer, were preparing to put a box of produce into an approaching car when the driver asked for a favor.
To get through another tough week during the pandemic, the elderly woman wanted three extra boxes for herself and another four boxes for her neighbors in their Coral Springs community.
So the father and son piled the boxes in the woman’s aging car and then jumped into their own car and delivered the additional boxes to the woman’s friends.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” Eric Young said. “We’re all going through this and it doesn’t matter if you are white, black, or Chinese. So many people are struggling right now. We have to help them.”
For the past five weeks or so, the Youngs have joined a growing number of volunteers at the weekly food giveaways at Chabad of Coral Springs to help distribute food.
They have stood alongside football players, elected officials, clergy, and others who unload trucks, set up stations, and put boxes of produce into passing cars that wait in long lines stretching for blocks.
As word about the donated food has gotten out – and as the financial crisis from Covid-19 has worsened for many – volunteers are in high demand to keep up with thousands of people from across the region who have made their way to Chabad of Coral Springs on University Drive in recent weeks.
Depending on the week, the synagogue and community center distributes close to 3,000 boxes of produce on Wednesdays from Simply Fresh, as well as smaller quantities of other food on Tuesdays, Thursdays, or other days, said Rabbi Avraham Friedman, the organization’s executive director.
The Youngs, who live in Parkland, come to volunteer because they can.
“I consider us blessed,” said Eric Young, 63, who is a jeweler. “We are ok. My family doesn’t need help with meals. But many other people are going through really hard times. So it’s important to give back to your community.”
Spencer Young, 16, who is going into 10th grade at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, said he, too, enjoys helping people.
“I want to give back and help people,” he said.
The father and son have seen the same families drive up week after week to Chabad of Coral Springs, often with young children in the backseats.
They’ve often heard similar stories after speaking to some families: Someone loses a job and within weeks it becomes hard paying for essentials such as food.
“All the people are so grateful and appreciative of getting this food,” he said.
That included the elderly woman who wanted the additional boxes of produce.
Eric Young said he didn’t hesitate for a moment to drive the extra boxes to the woman’s neighbors.
“Her neighbors couldn’t get out of their homes, so we helped out,” he said.
The Youngs plan to keep coming back to volunteer for as long as there’s a need – even if that’s weeks or months.
“We’ll be there,” he said.
If you are interested in volunteering, contact Chabad of Coral Springs at 954-344-4855.
For updates on the food delivery, visit Chabad of Coral Springs’ Facebook page here.
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