HATS OFF TO LIFE is a chapter of
The Ezra Abraham to Life Foundation. It was started by Margie Bijou. She has a collection of hats; vintage and new, that are rented to people in need of a special hat for an occasion. The hats are mostly dress hats worn for to.Barmitzvahs, Weddings, Brises.All of the funds raised by
Hats Off to Life go directly to
The Ezra Abraham to Life Foundation.
Ezra Abraham a”h (Eddie) passed away on October 13, 2005 after a 7 year battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma (a rare pediatric cancer) the morning of Yom Kippur. Eddie started the To Life foundation by selling green rubber Pray for Ezra bracelets. During his long stays in hospitals all over he felt that there wasn’t any support for kids his age. He wanted to change that for teenagers everywhere. The To Life Foundations main purpose is to alleviate the suffering of children with cancer and their families. Their aim is to lend emotional support to families while improving the patients’ quality of life. They are planning to put a “to Life living room" in hospitals all over. These rooms will provide these kids with a cool place to be in .They can watch TV, use a computer or even just hang out with their friends in a fun, friendly atmosphere, instead of a dreary cold, hospital room. They have even been using different kinds of therapy such as music and dance to boost of the morale of the kids. Their goal is to make their stay in the hospital as pleasant as they possibly can.These rooms cost as much as 150,000 thousand dollars to build according to the needs of youths with extreme illnesses.We also provide round the clock nurses that supervise the teens while they hang out in order to ensure their well being and safety.
In August of 2009 we cut the green ribbon on our first teen"Living Room" located in the pediatric ward in Monmouth Medical Center,New Jersey. Two more To Life Rooms have been completed since then in Jersey Shore Medical and New York City Hospital For special surgery.
How It Started
My cousin Sherri Betesh needed a hat for her sons Bar Mitzvah. We searched all over the city and ordered a bunch of hats online until we found the perfect hat. A week before the event she called me frantic “Margie I have no hat for the bar mitzvah!!!”Her big black Labrador retriever, Othello ate the hat!!!!!I bought a green yarmulke and reattached all the flowers andand -well 300 hats later… we found more than we bargained for…She’s been my right arm and helps me tremendously. My sister Esther Dana came up with the name Hats Off to Life. She was so close to Eddie and loved him and misses him.The most touching person is Rachel Gindi, a 12 yr old girl from Los Angeles, whom I’ve never even met, heard about what I was doing and was so moved that she collected hats from her community and sent them to me.2 huge boxes came filled with over 50 beautiful hats. She taught me that kindness has dimensions that go way beyond the walls, in my room full of hats.
Kindness truly knows no boundaries.
If we can reach L.A., we can reach anywhere.
And, most of all I have to credit my husband Albert. He has been supportive and patient and has seen many boxes from fed ex and ups show up daily. He allows me to have people come to my home at all hours, and greets them graciously. He has given me this wonderful opportunity to use my home to give back all that I have been given.Hes seeing all the good we have done and is so supportive.
I am so lucky.
Hats and more Hats
The hats are part of my private collection that I have accumulated. Most of them are purchased by me. It is made up of vintage dress hats, which have been worn previously. I buy them in vintage stores and online.
My vintage hats are one of a kind, I have even added some of my own touches to them, replaced the veils and added trimmings .There is a local seamstress that donates her time and helps me refurbish them. The websites I purchase hats from offer a discount on shipping because I have become a regular and they know what I do.
Because the idea of lending out hats to raise money for To Life became so popular, people have been donating their old designer hats to me as well. My collection has about 300 hats in it. Most woman having an occasion, a Bar Mitzvah, or a wedding, in need of a hat to complete their outfit, feel like its worth it to spend a third of the price for one of my hats rather than spend the usual----300-700 price. Many of the hats donated are from a very expensive hat store in Manhattan that makes custom hats in the 600-700 price range. I can provide people in need of special hats with something special at a third or more less cost, and they get to do something good as well. People tell their friends and they tell others. Most of the women are people I have never even met.It is truly amazing.
HOW IT WORKS:
I can be contacted by phone or email. The women look great and make a mitzvah at the same time.
I have taken a room in my home and converted it into
the” hat room”.
I have hat racks and shelves with hats from all seasons, all fabrics and styles. The hats are not new but are in very good condition. The hats are basically” rented out” for a fee of $150.If more than one hat is rented the charge is $100 per additional hat. Some times people give more because they can’t believe how well they make out and how wonderful the foundation is .The hats are returned after.
It’s that easy.
WHY IT’S WORKING
Women are moved by what I do and are committed to my cause. I have women coming to my home almost every day. It’s become well known and has proven quite successful. I don’t even advertise. Some days I come home and see a dozen or more hats dropped off by fellow community members. One girl even had her husband ship me 30 hatboxes for free. Its amazing how something so small could make such a difference. Show people that they can be part of helping others and they jump right in.The hats have certainly proved that paying it forward really happens.
I’m seeing kindness and people sharing.
.Our Hats off to Life Fashion Show 2007 had an attendance upwards of 700 & raised almost 100 ,000. The Summer Event 2009 had double the attendance and was labeled by all who were there as the"highlight of the summer".The entire communities hair and make-up professionals donate their entire mornings as well as the party coordinators &DJs.
It was an AMAZING day.
I can’t even take the credit for what’s been going on because so many wonderful people have been so supportive and kind and generous.I demand pictures of all my “hat girls”to display in my walls in the Hat Room.They are truly the bricks of Hats Off to Life.That to me has been the most rewarding part.
Last year my cousin Sherri Bar-Mitzvahed her son Jacob in Israel along with Eddies younger brother David.
It was a monumentous occasion.
It’s funny how they came together……
Life does go on.It has too, and we CAN make it better if we put our “HEADS” together.
Finding a hat for Sherri was far easier this time around. It’s been a long road since Sherri and I finally found the perfect GREEN hat for her dress 4 years ago.
When I think about it being green,
I realize now that it was a sign of good things to come.
May we cut a million ribbons on many “TO LIFE” rooms together.
HATS OFF TO YOU!