The Michael Kameo Foundation is a brand new organization, founded by parents who hope to make an impact in the lives of community members in need, in the name of their son, Michael Mordi Kameo, a”h.

Michael was a happy, lovable one-and-a-half-year-old baby who had the time of his life driving around this past Purim, his father’s favorite holiday, enjoying all the fun festivities the holiday has to offer. He was dressed in an adorable Purim costume and danced around with his loved ones on the incredibly fun and holy day. The day after Purim, as we all know, the world turned upside down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It was just four days after this that Michael passed away suddenly, from a different illness. His family and the community as a whole were both shocked and devastated.

Michael’s final holiday with his family inspired the mission of the foundation, which they named in his memory. The Michael Kameo Foundation’s goal is to help provide the most positive, exciting, and uplifting Purim holiday for the needy families in our community. To celebrate Purim in true Brooklyn Jewish fashion takes costumes, multiple mishloach manot to hand out to friends and family (who are either on a list or given to spontaneously when passed on the street), a large meat meal, and much more. The Michael Kameo Foundation (MKF) would like to raise the necessary funds in order to provide all this and more. MKF’s goal is to assure that every family in our community has the Purim of their dreams, no matter what their financial situation is.

The foundation kicked off in June with the first annual Bike 4 Mike! The event was a walk/run and bike race around Monmouth County, New Jersey. There were 25 walk/runners and 30 bikers. Each participant was asked to raise $2,000 to join. Some were inspired and raised even more. One participant raised $10,000 for the new foundation!

Keren, Michael’s mom, was asked what inspired the fundraiser. She answered, “When I was sitting shivah, that week I kept telling my husband, ‘I just want to run,’ and no, I’m not a runner, but the moment it was permissible, I started to run. My husband and his friends are bikers, so it only made sense that we make it a bike/run event.” Keren ran the race that day while pushing her four-year-old daughter Pauline in a stroller.

The race began and ended at the Kameo residence in Long Branch. The foundation’s logo was printed on tee shirts, hats, sweatshirts, water bottles, and more, all on sale to support the cause. A large dairy breakfast was served and a few people gave speeches. During this post-race event, people continued to donate money. The Kameo’s were overjoyed by the generosity shown towards their new foundation to honor their son. The fund raiser was a huge success, with over $100,000 raised for the Michael Kameo Foundation.

This venture is new, so the family members are not yet certain just how they are going to fulfil their mission to help community families with Purim. But their goal is clear, and they are definitely the organization to watch. MKF donated candy backpacks to the Ohel Yaacob Congregation (better known as the Lawrence Ave. Shul, in Deal) for Simchat Torah. This was clearly in keeping with the theme of bringing joy to community families on festive Jewish holidays.

For more information or to donate the Michael Kameo Foundation, go to MichealKameoFoundation.org

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