Roslyn’s Alex Silber said one of the core values she holds for herself and her children is to always be charitable.
“I’m a clinical psychologist and as I see it I’m in the business of helping people,” Silber said. “It’s something I feel strongly about.”
It must have rubbed off on her 13-year-old son, Gabe, who has for many months organized and put together different drives for those less fortunate.
The mother-and-son duo is in the process of creating a nonprofit, The Silber Hearts, that Silber said she hopes will give young people more chances to help those in need.
“There are never enough opportunities for kids to have a direct impact on other kids and families,” Silbers said.
Recently, Gabe worked tirelessly to collect more than 100 toys to give to East Patchogue-based Angels of Long Island for their holiday shopping drive. He also collected over 200 articles of clothing for shelters, boys’ and girls’ clubs and individual families in need, stemming from an idea to donate sweatshirts from bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs.
On top of his current efforts, Alex Silber said another one of her son’s passions is buying and selling sports cards and he plans to donate part of the proceeds to his endeavors.
Silber said whenever possible her family would drop off items at nurseries or daycares in the Glen Cove area, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gabe asked questions and got a more serious understanding of the struggles people have.
“It has been a good amount of work between organizing things and balancing school,” Gabe said. “It takes some time, but if you want to get it done, you have to put in the effort.”
The teenager hopes to make the sweatshirt and clothing drive a yearly undertaking while also adding a bi-yearly cereal drive for the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center.
“To think there are people out there that don’t have food to eat was something that really moved Gabe to take on that mission,” Silber said.
Before the idea of starting a nonprofit, mother and son first got the ball rolling for the initial toy drive with the help of an Amazon registry and Instagram account, but still felt the need to create a nonprofit to better network and find as many opportunities as possible.
“We wanted to raise awareness, connect with community members and ultimately really be able to create opportunities for kids to know that they also can go out and give,” Silber said.
Since starting the drives, Silber has been surprised at how people have reached out to them from far and wide, specifically mentioning Brooklyn and even Missouri.
“We were able to pair some local families with other organizations like the Girl Scouts who were able to provide,” Silber said. “Just knowing the kind of difference we can make by even the smallest gesture honestly blows our minds and warms our hearts.”
More information on The Silber Hearts can be found on their Facebook page.