13-year-old Great Neck Resident Chooses St. Mary’s Hospital for Children For her “Mitzvah” Charity Project

Great Neck Students Gather to Help Craft Hand-Made Blankets to Donate to St. Mary’s Kids

Students from Great Neck, LI have always been a part of the St. Mary’s family, and 13-year old Shilat Anaki is just another shining example of the deep compassion the youngsters share for St. Mary’s kids.

Turning 13 was an important milestone for Shilat and she was getting ready for her Bar Mitvah, the Jewish celebration for children coming of age. As part of the traditional festivity, Shilat also had to complete a “Mitvah Project,” charity work for any organization she wanted. Without hesitation she chose St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, a national leader in post-acute care for children with special needs and life-limiting condition.

Shilat decided to work with the Project Linus, a non-profit organization comprised of hundreds of local chapters and thousands of volunteers across the United States who provide warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need, through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans.

Shilat wanted her friends at St. Mary’s to receive the gift of warmth and together with her own friends, created their own unique designs and made over 30 blankets which they donated to the young patients of St. Mary’s, some of the most seriously ill and injured children in the New York area battling complex medical conditions.

Some are pink; some have cars on it; others have beautiful checkered patterns. But all the blankets are warm and delicate and will bring comfort and security to St. Mary’s kids.

Collaborating on the project was Benji, Jacob and Mathew Portnoy, brothers of the late Zachary Portnoy, a former patient of St. Mary’s who passed away in 2007. The Portnoy family has stayed close to St. Mary’s and is always finding new ways to get involved to help make a difference for St. Mary’s kids.

The Great Neck community has been actively supporting St. Mary’s programs and services through generous donations, fundraising events, and school visitations. Students have created long-lasting friendships with St. Mary’s kids, and above all, have learned the true meaning of courage.