PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Michael Elinoff has celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish ritual marking passage into manhood. When he heard that his tutor’s daughter, Meira Loring, was severely burned on her legs and torso New Year’s Eve, he asked his guests to provide gifts for her and the Pediatric Burn Unit at Mercy Hospital.
“When you’re in the hospital,” Michael said, “You want to be just like a normal child, and have fun. And these toys and arts and craft things allow the children in the unit be able to be that.”
Michael and his family collected more than 150 gifts.
“That’s Michael,” said his mother, Beth Elinoff. “He is always willing to help other people, and is there when anybody needs anything. So this doesn’t surprise me a bit.”
Mercy Hospital has the leading Pediatric Burn Unit in the area. Meira is one of about a hundred kids who are admitted every year.
Meira’s mother has also shared her gifts.
We said well, let’s give them to the services here,” Leah Ackner said. “They’ve helped us so much, we want to give back.”
Child life specialist Melissa Shiring says toys and crafts help get burn victims up and about.
“Whether it’s through physical play, or they’re just playing with arts and crafts, at least they’re moving all parts of their body, and working through some of the issues they may have.”
Michael Elinoff found an added meaning in “Bar Mitzvah.”
“Mitzvah means doing a good deed,” he said. “And this is a good deed, helping other people.”