Catholic Charities to honor ‘a family for families’

CAMDEN — There is a well-known saying in Jewish tradition that “saving one life is like saving the entire world.” This was a belief deeply imbedded in David Ravitz when he arrived in the United States at the turn of the 20th century and has since been handed down through generations of his family.

Moving to America in the early 1900s, David and his father came to this country to escape the tyranny facing Jews in Russia at that time. Together they worked tirelessly to earn enough money to bring the rest of his family to Philadelphia, their new home.

David began selling apples from a cart parked around the corner from Temple University. The apple cart grew to be a corner store where David’s son, Stanley, learned and grew the family business. And to quote another famous saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

After years of running the corner store in Philadelphia, Stanley moved to New Jersey and expanded the business again. Over time, the small apple cart has grown to include six ShopRite supermarkets in the South Jersey area. Always committed to family and faith, in 1996 Stanley and his wife, Doris, gave tangible life to yet another Jewish tradition known as Tzedaka, or charity, when they founded the Ravitz Family Foundation.

The Ravitz Family Foundation’s mission is to aid children and families in need. Those are concise words for a complex cause. On a daily basis they receive requests from local charitable organizations and have supported everything from afterschool programs, to summer field trips for needy children, to aiding families who may not be able to provide sufficient shelter for themselves.

To this day the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Stanley and Doris Ravitz are committed to carrying out the foundation’s mission — “as a family for families.”

“If we can make someone’s day better or load lighter, we want to do that. It makes my family feel good and it makes me feel great,” said Steve Ravitz, family spokesperson. “We love to help people. It’s not just what we do, it’s who we are.”

On April 28, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden, will present the Ravitz Family with the Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio Award for Leadership at its annual Justice for ALL Awards Dinner.

“It’s with great pleasure that we acknowledge the Ravitz family’s passion and dedication to helping others,” said Kevin Hickey, executive director of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden Inc. “Generations of the Ravitzes have made making a difference a family affair and have shown themselves to be leaders in their service and commitment to the poor, the vulnerable and those without a voice.”

The 2011 Justice for ALL Dinner will take place at Adelphia Grand Ballroom in Deptford on Thursday, April 28, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $95 per person. All proceeds will be used to provide direct assistance to clients in all six counties of the diocese: Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem.

For more information on tickets or sponsorship opportunities, call Giovina Price, 856-583-6126, or visit www.CatholicCharitiesCamden.org.

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