Maria Cohen is just like any mom. She makes sure her kids - Alexis, 13, and Felix, 8, Konev- are involved in extracurricular activities and do well in school. One of the biggest lessons she teaches them? Philanthropy is second nature.
Each week, they receive money for their tzedakah boxes they received from the PJ Library program. At the end of the year, they get to decide where to donate their money. In 2019, they each donated $180 to the Adopt-a-Family program through Jewish Family Services, which helps local Jewish families during Chanukah.
“It’s a good feeling that we get to decide where the money goes because we get to stand up for what we believe in rather than what others are telling you to believe in and it’s a way for us to be more independent,” Alexis and Felix said.
Maria believes that there are certain things that should be done on almost autopilot and part of what should be set aside is for a rainy day and the other part is set aside to help others.
“I hope my kids long term internalize and continue this as they grow up.,” she said.
“Our mom always tells us that we are fortunate and we should be thankful for what we have,” Alexis said. “It is important to help the Jewish community since we are Jewish.”
During the Adopt-a-Family Community Day on Dec. 8, the Cohen family received a wish list from two children similar to their ages to shop for.
“We had fun shopping for the kids and it made me feel really warm and fuzzy,” Alexis said.
Wrapping the gifts, especially putting bows on the presents for the kids, was one of Felix’s favorite parts, he said.
What surprised Alexis and Felix the most was how many people in our community need assistance.
“They asked for a lot of basic items I don’t normally think about not having,” Alexis said.
Alexis and Felix are no stranger to helping others. They even spent their own money to purchase basketballs for Hasten Hebrew Academy of Indianapolis.
This is the third year the family has participated in the Adopt-a-Family program, and plan to contribute again at the next program as well.