Three years ago, Chai Lifeline's leadership undertook a major capital project: the renewal of Camp Simcha's residential campus. Though daunting, the project was much needed. Camp Simcha's bunks were no longer adequate for the increasing numbers of campers who needed bulky medical devices and motorized wheelchairs. Additionally, more children were applying to camp every year, and we were determined to find a way to accommodate them.
The project was begun with an inspirational gift from Alan and Miriam Goldberg in memory of Ilean Goldberg. At this year's Annual Gala, Rabbi Simcha Scholar announced two additional pioneering gifts: the dedication of two villages on the residential campus. (Each village is a cluster of residential cottages and their surrounding areas.)
One village has been dedicated by the Meridian Capital Group, supporters of Chai Lifeline for more than a decade. Last year, Meridian's partners and management, cycling together as Team Meridian, raised over $1 million for Bike4Chai. Team Meridian, which has been an important Bike4Chai presence since the first years of the event, became the first team to reach coveted Titanium status in its fundraising.
The second village was donated by Martin and Melodie Scharf of Lawrence, New York, in loving memory of Susan Ann Scharf. The Scharfs are prominent philanthropists in their community and in the Jewish world.
"We are grateful for the trust that Meridian Capital and the Scharfs have put in Chai Lifeline and Camp Simcha through these (literally) groundbreaking donations," said Rabbi Scholar. "The new villages enable Camp Simcha to expand the number of campers who can attend every summer and will allow us to increase the size of the many programs held on the campus during fall, winter, and spring."