Mid-Island Y JCC Gives Back for MLK Day


In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Kosher Gospel, aka Joshua Nelson, gospel singer, and Hebrew teacher, gave a soul stomping performance at the Mid Island Y JCC on Monday as the crowd clapped and sang along as photos of the legendary civil rights activist streamed across a video screen.

“Next year we are going to work on a little rhythm,” joked Rick Lewis, CEO of the Mid Island Y JCC, who thanked everyone for their support “You were a little off today.” 

Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman joined in the fun. “Raise your hand today if you are a mensch,” as his voice grew louder. “Let’s do good stuff today.” 

And so they did.

Four hundred volunteers and staff members wearing matching blue shirts with the words “Official Mensch” gathered to pack up 1,200 packed bags full of food, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products that were being sent out to 4,000 Long Islanders in need. The recipients are FQHC the S.H.O.P at the Gural JCC; the Huntington Interface Homeless Initiative; the Gerald Ryan Outreach Center; Birthday Wishes and the Hatzilu Rescue Organization. 

 The donation bags even contained a vegetarian chili recipe with all the ingredients.

“We are helping people with food insecurity and food poverty,” said Gail Warrack, Director of Volunteer Services at Mid Island Y JCC, whose donations came in from UJA Federation of NY, Henry Schein Cares Foundation and members of the community. “Rather then random products in a bag we wanted to give them specific items to help them make a warm meal for the family.”

Rabbi Jenn Weinstein of Congregation Simchat Ha Lev of Syosset who came with some members of her synagogue was in awe by all the kindness.  

“It’s incredible to watch these kids have hands-on experience of making a difference in the community,” the rabbi said.

Warrack adds: “It’s amazing. We started four years ago with 200 hundred volunteers, and today it’s doubled. We are growing.”