Paul Lilienfeld, 14, attended the annual Christmas party for children with cancer and their families the past two years. The party was given by Candlelighters of Brevard, Inc., a local non-profit charity dedicated to children with cancer and their families by offering emotional support and financial assistance to childhood cancer families during the most difficult time of their lives. The experience had a very profound impact on Paul. He often expressed gratitude that this dreaded disease had not afflicted members of his own family and he also expressed admiration for the courage exhibited by the stricken children and their families. He also desired to help in some way. He was encouraged in this desire by his family and his Boy Scout Troop.
Paul decided to spare the burden of purchasing school supplies for a total of 107 children from 29 different families. Due to the financial difficulties they were experiencing because of their battles with cancer, many were unable to purchase required supplies for the beginning of the 2003-2004 school year. Paul conferred with the Executive Director of Candlelighters of Brevard, who agreed this would be a very useful project, which would satisfy a very real need.
In March 2003, Paul began planning and enlisting the help of friends on the project. He determined the age and gender of each of the children to ensure that appropriate supplies would be obtained. He then decided to use three primary sources for donations – corporate donations, personal donations and money earned by organized carwashes.
Paul solicited donations of all supplies and equipment needed for the carwashes as well as food for his friends assisting him and the printing of carwash tickets and flyers. They also sold carwash tickets and distributed flyers at high volume fast food outlets. The carwashes earned $250, personal donations totaled $185 and corporate donations totaled $1,450 for a total cash amount of $1,580, which was presented to Candlelighters of Brevard in September, two weeks prior to the beginning of academic year 2003-2004. In addition, a vast amount of various school supplies were received from individuals and corporations at drop off points Paul had arranged with local businesses.
Paul did not receive a stipend or salary for any portion of the project, but he was recognized in his school newsletter and the Candlelighters of Brevard’s newsletter. He also received a personal letter from Mitch A. Needleman, State Representative, District 31.