Kaila Zimmerman-Moscovitch, an American college student managing a full course load and two part-time jobs, has been spending 11 hours per day to help hers and other families in the Chabad-Lubavitch and wider Jewish community of Chicago, as highlighted in a profile on the Hasidic movement's website.
In light of the coronavirus disrupting the normal routines of millions of people across the globe, 20-year-old Zimmerman-Moscovitch has aimed to do her part by buying groceries at local supermarkets for people in the Chicago Jewish community. On some days, Zimmerman-Moscovitch begins her shopping day at 9 a.m. and only arriving home in the late evening.
Initially, Zimmerman-Moscovitch gathered groceries for her pregnant mother and aunt, later thinking that other many need help. “I then decided to post on a Jewish Chicago Facebook page saying if anybody needs help with shopping, I’m able to do that,” Zimmerman-Moscovitch told Chabad.
“As a kid, I learned about tikkun olam (repairing the world) and I think for me growing up, my mom always told me, ‘Do good, do good.’ I think that helped in a lot of ways. I just feel like I’m supposed to do it, that it’s the right thing for me to do,” Zimmerman-Moscovitch added.
Following her Facebook posts, the requests began pouring in. To manage all the supplies, Zimmerman-Moscovitch keeps freezer bags in her trunk to keep items cold, has a readily available supply of disinfectant spray and hand sanitizer and will even try to find specific brands families requested.
To ensure that she doesn't spread the coronavirus, Zimmerman-Moscovitch said that she uses a pack of sterile gloves per day. “I change my gloves when I get in the car, when I get to the market, when I put the bags in the car,” she noted.
“Typically, I shop for about five families a day. If I do a big order for one family, I will fill up a cart and take it back to my car, and then go back into the store. The people at the markets know me now, so they will sometimes let me back in without having to wait on line [to enter] again.”
Despite some online criticism for not focusing n herself, Zimmerman-Moscovitch said that, “in my eyes, I am helping myself. I am wearing a mask. I use hand sanitizer. I use gloves. I am able to wake up healthy and fine, and not have to worry. It’s just a good feeling to help people who I know can’t get out of their house."
“One family even calls me their ‘mitzvah girl.’ That makes me very happy," she told Chabad.