Maccabi makes a difference

February 10, 2012 by David Weiner-Maccabi NSW
Read on for article

Before leaving Brazil at the end of the Pan America Games, the Maccabi Australia team donated its strips and medical supplies to underprivileged children.

Proud of their new strip

“In following a time honoured Maccabi tradition started in Israel decades ago, Team Australia in the act of donating their sporting equipment are able to make a difference and have an impact around the world,” MAI president Lisa Borowick said.
Back in January in Sao Paulo during the Pan America Games, the last thing Team Australia did together was to donate the group’s playing gear, uniforms and medical equipment to Adrienne, their Maccabi transport volunteer. Borowick adds: “it is amazing to me that a chance conversation between soccer team manager Sydney Kahn and Adrienne revealed that her husband works weekly with underprivileged children in Favelas – slums in Brazil.”
You can read the full story from our Pan America Games coverage here.
As a post script, Maccabi Australia was touched to hear back from Sao Paulo last week. Kids, who normally live their dreams by cobbling together footballs with stuffed plastic bags or whatever they can improvise with, have been blown away by being able to play with brand new balls and equipment.
“Here are the photos of children and how many happy faces … thank you once again,” wrote Adriana Cavalcante, who collected the equipment from us and distributed it.
“They are not simple balls, but now part of a dream … a dream of many children!!!
“The children were very happy, now play and train with dignity using equipment donated by Maccabi Australia.”
Maccabi Australia’s football equipment at the Pan America Games was provided through the generosity of the Reagan Milstein Foundation (click here for more information), an organisation set up to honour the life of Reagan, who tragically died in 2010 after an accident while scuba diving in Malaysia.
Kevin Milstein told Maccabi News about the enormously rewarding work the organisation does.
“It’s all about the smiles on their faces,” Kevin Milstein told Maccabi News.
“It promotes good health, education, hopefully they link up that if you want to play, you have to lift your grades up at school … that’s all what it’s really about.
“On a personal level, it’s all about my late son, Reagan. I can just see him behind all their smiles.
“As Adrianna said: it’s a dream … for them, it’ll make a huge difference.”

Kevin spoke to us after returning from a trip to Tonga, where in conjunction with the Israeli government, they donated 40 boxes of goods. The Tongan football officials were so moved that they renamed their top football division the ‘Reagan Division’.
“I was astounded by the reaction,” Kevin said.
How did the trip come about?
“We collect old boots, leftover uniforms and we started a pilot project with government of Israel, who want to have an influence in some of the Pacific islands,” Kevin added.
“All those island nations, they’re all very strict Methodists, Catholics, strict Christian countries; they fully believe in Israel and the Jewish people. In turn, Israel is saying: here’s something in return.
Kevin adds that after all the ceremonies and presentations, the highlight is seeing the children out and about benefiting from their new gear.
“From my point of view, there was a huge amount of nachas (involved).

”Before I left, someone said to me, be prepared to adopt 100,000 people in your family. The response was just overwhelming.”
“At the end of the day, at the actual ceremony in Tonga, they got 100 school kids, approximately, put them all in their uniforms, they had a kick around, they then sat down for a little while before getting and up and having another kick around – and that’s what it’s all about, seeing the smiles and enjoyment on their faces.”
If you’re interested in donating spare clothes or equipment from your club, visit the Reagan Milstein Foundation’s website.

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