|The team spearheading relief efforts at Kittay House.|
Within 48 hours of the Japanese disaster, Nelkin organized volunteers who took shifts manning a table adjacent to the Kittay dining room. As tenants came and went, they were engaged in conversations about the newly constituted Japan Relief Drive. It worked. Soon donations, ranging from change to at least one check for $100, began to accumulate. By the end of the second day, Nelkin announced that they had collected more than $1,000.
"It's in the core of my life," Nelkin said about her passion for helping others. "How can you close your heart to something like that, when people are in distress? How can you not be there?"
Judy Aranawitz, Kittay's program facilitator, researched the charitable organizations that were assisting with relief efforts from Japan. She and Nelkin chose to equally divide the Kittay donations between two disaster relief organizations: AmeriCares and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
This type of effort is becoming something of a tradition at Kittay, which sits across the street from the Bronx VA Hospital. Tenants have also organized fund-raising drives to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina and Haiti's earthquake.