The folks at 30 Years After played “Sammy’s Little Helpers” amid the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Dazzling arrays of impressively accomplished young professionals were out in force to party for a worthy cause – the Third Annual Hanukkah celebration and toy gathering for kids. The Cause Celeb took place at Crimson Hollywood Dec. 17.
Sam is 30 Years After founder, Sam Yebri.
“There are so many toy drives for Christmas,“ said chairman and founder of the event Sara Sarshar. “There was no (organized) way, in our community, available for us to give. On Saturday night, you are going to be out anyway – so why not bring a toy for kids?”
Sarshar is also a member of the Board of Directors of 30 Years After.
Each year, between 500 and 800 members of the Iranian Jewish community bring a new, unused toy. The next day, these toys are wrapped and delivered to special needs kids at Friendship Circle.
Sarshar said enough toys are donated each year to fulfill the kids' wish lists. "So far [this year], every child has received exactly the toy that was on his or her list.” There are enough toys to benefit the siblings as well. Surplus toys are taken anonymously to families in need and to other charitable organizations.
Friendship Circle is a nonprofit benefitting children and their families in the Jewish community who have special needs. They provide support services and encouragement to families facing challenging situations, and normal socialization opportunities for their special needs children.
Nonprofit organization 30 Years After is dedicated to strengthening the Jewish community by promoting the participation of Iranian Jews in American political, civic and Jewish life. In 1998, 30,000 Iranian Jews came to America to start a new life following the execution of Jewish philanthropist and businessman Ruhollah Kakhodah-Zadeh in Iran. Yebri founded 30 Years After to educate, inspire and mobilize the Iranian Jewish community through conferences, lectures and seminars, a high school mentorship program, voter registration drives, and an anthology of short stories and video interviews that commemorate the sacrifice, courage and resilience of this community's path to the United States.
Now, the young Iranian Jews who have benefitted so much from their parents' difficult decision to immigrate to the United States have found a way to truly give back to their community.