Twin sisters who hosted a ‘Street Store’ to help the homeless are to be recognized Sunday (Dec. 13) during the annual menorah-lighting event at Semiahmoo Shopping Centre in South Surrey.
Sarah and Amy Aginsky were announced last week as recipients of the Centre for Judaism Young Lamplighters Award of Chanukah 2015.
The award honours outstanding community service by youth aged five to 18 years old.
The sisters, who call Richmond home, are being noted for their efforts in hosting a Street Store. The concept, founded in Cape Town, South Africa nearly two years ago, involves collecting clothes and other items and organizing a pop-up, one-day store where ‘shoppers’ are given the opportunity to select apparel and shoes at no cost.
Between January and March, the Richmond twins collected truckloads of donated clothing and footwear, then distributed them to the needy on March 6, at the Lighthouse Mission in Bellingham.
In a Dec. 3 release announcing their award, Amy Aginsky described the experience as “humbling”.
“Seeing the appreciative faces of our Street Store shoppers was heartwarming and beautiful,” she said. “Many of them have very little and are living difficult lives. It felt great to know we were helping others and that as a result of our mitzvah project, their lives might get a little bit easier.”
The twins’ parents were born in Cape Town and their grandparents and relatives still live there. They saw how The Street Store had helped the homeless in cities including Sao Paulo (Brazil), Tepic (Mexico), Grande Prairie (Canada), Tucuman (Argentina), Oslo (Norway) and Vancouver and were inspired to host one of their own.
The Lamplighters award is to be presented by Centre for Judaism directors Rabbi Falik and Simie Schtroks.
“Chanukah celebrates the victory of light over darkness and goodness over evil,” Simie Schtroks said in the release. “This is a most appropriate opportunity to motivate and inspire young people to make this world a brighter and better place. By filling the world with goodness and kindness, that light can dispel all sorts of darkness.”
The menorah-lighting event is to get underway 5:30 p.m.