You’ve heard the expression… “The apple falls not far from the tree”? One Aventura family, the Hon. Billy and Sandra Joel, live that phrase. The Joel’s have made their mark in the world of philanthropy and have raised their children to always ‘give back’.
Daughters Donna Eichner and Lisa Mannis were first to volunteer to help with Stephanie Trump’s I Have a Dream Foundation charity gala. Then, this past October, their son Jay Joel, through New York’s American Giving Project, donated 400 new baby car seats to low-income families here in South Florida. And most recently, Donna connected her friend, Sam Marotta from GlobalSIM USA with the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce (AMC) to fulfill his company’s wish of donating Thanksgiving turkeys to South Florida families in need. And so began the story of how 300 Thanksgiving meals were donated to families of North Miami Beach Sr. High School.
GlobalSIM USA partners Sam Marotta, Robert Salna, Lior Avadiev and Stefano Ravasini, worked with the AMC throughout October to plan everything. GlobalSIM USA is a solutions provider for T-Mobile offering very affordable phone plans services across the nation. The partners were there at North Miami Beach Sr. High to be part of that special day and brought hundreds of their GlobalSIM USA cards to give to all the families.
“Earlier this year our partners discussed a plan to get involved,” said Avadiev and Marotta, “and do something really nice for the community during Thanksgiving to show our gratitude and appreciation for our success. We believe that the greatest feeling of achievement and success in giving back to people in need, especially during the holiday season. We recognize that there are many families out there who are going through hard times, and we are thankful that we had the opportunity to partner up with the amazing people at the Aventura Marketing Council and North Miami Beach Senior High-School to accomplish our mutual goal of feeding 300 families this Thanksgiving. Words cannot describe the feeling we had that day when we were able to see how much this impacted the great people of Miami. We hope that we can be an example to the students and other people in the community, so we can grow this next year to help even more families, and our plan is to make this an annual event. Thank you all for allowing us to be a part of this inspiring event and congratulations to all the wonderful people who helped put this together!”
When AMC members heard about the project, they asked “What can we do to help?” Frida Lapidot and Anthony Tyrkala from Aventura City of Excellence School (ACES) went to their Middle School teacher, Mr. Rodriguez and his “LEAD 2 Feed” students to donate 20 big beautiful baskets of Thanksgiving side dishes to accompany the turkeys for some special needs families, and ACES students wrote touching notes to each of those families. AMC Board Member Anthony Damato, Toyota of North Miami VIP Sales, donated stacks of canned goods while Publix and Target helped with canned good donations as well.
The leadership team at North Miami Beach Senior High School, principal Randy Milliken, Assistant Principal Giselle Mendieta and Special Needs Counselor Veronica Martin, organized their award-winning ROTC cadets and students to help unload the truck with all the turkeys and help distribute the turkey and food items. “I had been praying for weeks to find a way to feed our families during Thanksgiving” said Martin “Then, came the phone call from the Aventura Marketing Council—this became our ‘Thanksgiving miracle’ and we are truly indebted to Donna Eichner, GlobalSIM USA, the AMC, ACES, Anthony Damato and everyone who made this miracle come true!”