David Broide from Hollywood, Florida celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in 2009, but his Mitzvah Project is ongoing. We got the chance to speak with him about his amazing project called, Never Forget Never Again Pennies. His project has created dozens of bags, jugs, coin rolls and sandwich bags filled with pennies! They are currently lining the Holocaust Center in downtown Hollywood, Florida.
Here is more information in his own words:
MM: Please describe your Mitzvah Project.
DB: I am collecting pennies to honor and remember the 1.5 million children murdered in the Holocaust and will continue my project until I can collect six million. Every life needs to be counted and every penny counts. For more information visit the Website hdec.org and also visit my Website www.NeverForgetNeverAgain.org.
MM: Does your project have a start and end date, if so what are they?:
DB: My project officially started on June 29, 2009, but I started collecting pennies in the community on August 21, 2009 when I celebrated my Bar Mitzvah with family and friends. I will not stop my project until I have collected 1.5 million pennies and then I will continue until I have collected six million.
MM: Why did you decide to take on this particular project/charity?
DB: My grandfather was a partisan, a resistance leader in the forests of Bransk, Poland. He was the sole survivor of his family after the Holocaust. He believed in telling his story as painful as it was, to Never Forget Never Again allow for a Holocaust to happen. He passed away in February of 2008. I knew then that it was my turn to tell my generation his story. I chose the HDEC because they do an incredible job. They have existed for 30 years and have collected 2,400 testimonies of survivors in English and Spanish. Their collection includes artifacts, documents and an original railcar that is being refurbished and will anchor the museum. There is no better place to donate my penny collection. I will be donating my pennies on Yom Hashoah, April 11, 2010 to the HDEC. My dream is to find a donor that could match my collection so that the penny display could become a permanent display at the museum. We all need to see what six million really is so we can learn and stop the anti-Semitism, the hate and the genocides happening around the world.
MM: In your own words, what does it mean to you to do a Mitzvah Project for your Bar Mitzvah?
DB: Doing Mitzvot are part of my daily life as a Jew. I feel that becoming a Jewish man comes with responsibilities and continuing my grandfather’s legacy to remind my generation and future generations of the Holocaust will hopefully stop the hate and anti-Semitism that exists.
MM: How many pennies have you collected so far?
DB: I have collected 100,000 more pennies than my original goal! I have also donated $1,800 of my Bar Mitzvah gifts. Some of the pennies are being displayed in 5 gallon empty water containers. One of my goals was to get 200 empty 5 gallon bottles and distribute them to the schools that would want to help me but I have not been able to find a company that could donate all the bottles.
One company will be sending me 10. I am in the process of contacting schools and synagogues to see if they would want to participate in this project.
MM: What are you doing to spreading the word?
DB: I included the information in my Bar Mitzvah invitation. I have also sent emails that are going around.
I am printing flyers and going to different neighborhoods to pass them out. I have had people call me as a result of articles that have been in the Miami Herald and the Sun-Sentinel. I have met many awesome people when I visit with them to collect pennies.
MM: For how long can people donate to this charity?
DB: I need all the help I can get. People from all over can give me pennies, if interested, they can send a check made out to Never Forget Never Again and mail them to: David Broide Penny Project, c/o Holocaust Documentation and Education Center, 2031 Harrison Street, Hollywood, Florida, 33020. If you would like to contact me, my email address is NeverForgetNeverAgainPennies@gmail.com.
My parents are helping me convert the pennies. I will not stop until I get to six million pennies and hopefully get a donor to match them. I resist, like my grandfather to allow another Holocaust to happen and believe that we must stop the hate and the genocides that are happening around the world.
MM: Anything else we need to know about your Mitzvah Project?
DB: This project is very special and dear to me because my grandfather lost his parents, 3 sisters and his brother who was also a resistance leader and was killed after the ceasefire simply because he was a Jew. We need to remember every life because every person murdered was a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, cousin…who perhaps would have still been here today.
Update: Passengers on Royal Caribbean cruises are helping David reach his new goal of 6 million pennies. They have set-up drop off coin cans at check-in counters at Port Everglades and the Port of Miami. Additionally, Crystal Springs Water in Fort Lauderdale, Florida provided 40 five gallon jugs to hold the pennies. David transported the pennies weighing 6,000 pounds to the Holocaust Center using a Brinks truck!
Thank you for sharing this amazing project with Mitzvah Market, we are sure you will reach your goal of 6 million!