Local Volunteers Awarded Kohl’s Scholarship

Two Westchester students giving back to their communities get the recognition they deserve.

Kohl’s Corporation, owner of the ubiquitous Kohl’s department store chain, awarded last week with $1,000 scholarships 200 youth volunteers, two of whom are Westchester students.

Neil Suri, 15, from Scarsdale and Jordan Rosen, 9, from Pleasantville were both honored by the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program. The winners were chosen from more than 37,000 nominees nationwide for their volunteer work and the positive impact they’ve made in their communities.

Neil was inspired to help fight hunger and began to volunteer at FoodSync, an organization started by his sister, Natasha, in 2012 after she noticed how much food went to waste at a local bakery. To date, the group has collected over 8,000 pounds of food from bakeries and distributed it to local shelters, ultimately feeding more than 2,500 men, women, and children.

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FoodSync incorporates modern technology into its volunteer work, using open-source mapping technology for real-time tracking of food donations. They map every pickup to ensure transparency, enabling users to visualize their impact on the micro-level, according to their website.

Neil’s involvement in the organization, Natasha explained, has helped him realize that he has been sheltered from these communities affected by poverty and hunger, even though they are not too far from home. “Consequently, he has begun to appreciate all the things that he used to take for granted,” she said.

Natasha will be going away to college in the fall, but expects that Neil will take over the day-to-day operations of FoodSync in Westchester. Local restaurants such as Martine’s Fine Bake Shoppe, Lulu’s Custom Cake Boutique, and Westchester Bagel Café have all contributed to FoodSync’s mission to fight hunger in Westchester.

Nine-year-old Jordan Rosen was inspired to help the community after learning about the Love Hope Strength Foundation, an organization that registers bone marrow donors at concerts around the world. Rosen dedicated time to staffing their booths and encouraging individuals to sign up for the national bone marrow registry. Four potential lifesaving matches have already been made after Rosen helped sign up more than 600 individuals.

In addition to the $1,000 scholarship, both of the Westchester winners qualify for one of Kohl’s 10 national scholarships. The winners of this scholarship, who will be announced at the end of July, will receive $10,000 in scholarships, as well as a $1,000 donation to a nonprofit organization on their behalf.

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