4-Year-Old Donates Money to Charity

Tags: Federation, PR, Campaign, Young Families, Education

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Michelle and Matthew Hirsch at the Tzedakah Party

Article reprinted with permission from Beachwood Patch.

By Chris Mosby

Matthew Hirsch celebrated the spirit of the holidays by donating $24.17 to the Campaign for Jewish Needs.

Four year old Matthew Hirsch is happiest when he's cracking open his piggy bank at the end of the year and counting out his earnings for the past 12 months. He's not happy because he's about to buy himself the latest action figure or video game, he's happy because he's about to help another person's life, he's about to donate his money to a worthy cause.

For the past three years, Hirsch has been donating the contents of his piggy bank to the Jewish Federation of Cleveland's Campaign for Jewish Needs.

The piggy bank isn't an analogy, either. It's a literal piggy bank. Hirsch got it when he was a newborn as a gift. Now any time his grandparents slip him a dollar, or he finds loose change in the house, or he gets cash for a holiday, he puts it snugly away in that bank.

Over the past few years, the money in that bank has gone to helping the Jewish community in Cleveland and around the world via the Campaign for Jewish Needs. Over the past few years, Hirsch and his family have attended the Young Families Tzedakah Party, where children are taught the value of tzedakah (charity) and are encouraged to donate whatever they can to a good cause.

Well, the 4-year-old took that message to heart and decided to share everything he had. This year, that meant $24.17.

When asked why he donated and what the meaning of charity is, Hirsch said, "To make sad people happy."

Hirsch's mother, Michelle, says she is extremely proud of her small son. Each year she helps him empty the bank, collect the "monies" (as Matthew calls them), place the cash in a zip-lock bag, and then take it to the Federation. It's one of the happiest days of the year for Matthew.

This year, Matthew wasn't the only young Hirsch to donate. Matthew also helped his 18-month-old sister Shaina collect her own monies for donating.

Michelle Hirsch says philanthropy is very important to her family. Both she and her husband donate their time and money to local charities and sit on the boards of non-profits.

"We understand the importance of being philanthropic, even at a young age. The more children understand the power of giving to any cause, the more likely they are to keep giving of themselves as they get older," Michelle said.

This year, the Federation's Campaign for Jewish Needs raised $31.6 million. That money will go to families in need in Cleveland, Israel, and around the world; as well as to security for local synagogues, and the other needs of Northeast Ohio's 80,000 member Jewish community. According to the Federation, 91 cents of each dollar donated goes directly to the community for programs and services.

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Learn More: Federation, PR, Campaign, Young Families, Education