How 9-Year-Old Aliza Brought The Dough To Chai

Creator. Baker. Philanthropist. Organizer.

Aliza Grunwald is all of these things. She is 9 years old.

Last year, while scrolling through her mom’s Instagram feed, Aliza saw a post about our Chanukah Heroes program that pairs donors with Chai families for the holidays. She remembers being sad when she learned that there are children in the community whose Chanukah was not filled with presents.

She couldn’t stop thinking about it and after a few days later she asked “what can I do?”

Mom explained that they could sign up to be Chai Chanukah Heroes and matched with a family, but this didn’t fully satisfy Aliza, because “there would still be children who don’t get Chanukah presents.” She wanted to come up with something she could do to get as many gifts for as many children as possible

Painting. Aliza loves painting and decided to create paintings to sell to raise money to buy gifts. She sold her paintings for a minimum donation of $18. Many people donated more than that. After a few weeks she sold more than 30 paintings and raised $1000 which she turned into gift packages of art supplies.

<<< Check out this custom painting Aliza did for the Chai Lifeline Canada office. 

If there is something that Aliza loves more than painting, it’s baking and that inspired her most recent fundraising project she called “Bringing the Dough”. She created packages that included a cookie recipe, her grandmother’s recipe for homemade ice cream and all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. She sold the packages for $36 which included special access to join Aliza for a baking class on Zoom. On December 9th Aliza and her mom hand-delivered 25 packages and at 6:30 that evening, logged onto Zoom where her friends and family gathered for to bake together, bringing the dough for Chai.

This year Aliza raised $2000 and was able to buy Chanukah gifts for many in our Chai family. There is one in particular that really stands out. When Aliza learned that Daniella loves horses and that horseback riding is an activity that makes her so happy, Aliza decided to buy a very special pair of riding boots for her for Chanukah

When we sat down with Aliza and her mom, it became clear where Aliza’s inspiration to give back comes from.

“Sometimes when they see you crying or teary-eyed, it’s not always sad tears. Moms have a lot of different kinds of tears and one of the best tears that a mom can cry are the tears of such a deep pride that their children are becoming little people and human beings that we can be proud of…there are no words. We try to teach our kids always the importance of community and giving and being there for people and when she stood up and thought of this and fought for this and said what can I do to reach the most people, we were really proud.”

The perfect way to wrap this up is to share Aliza’s advice for anyone who wants to make a difference in their community:

Come up with an idea and just do it. Get your family to help and have a good time doing something really special together.

Participating in Project Give Back was part of inspiring Aliza because she wanted to make a real difference. If you’re ready to get started with a project of your own, please email Rachel Zelunka, [email protected].