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Angel in Midwood

Michal Eisikowitz

A few Rubbermaid bins in a basement. A penniless widow who loved to give. A store that changes the lives of thousands. The story of Bobbie’s Place and the remarkable woman behind it.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Midwood

On a little-used side street in the heart of Flatbush is an elegant children’s clothing boutique, its storefront covered with frosted glass. Inside, customers find rows of the latest in boys’ and girls’ apparel, multiple dressing rooms, wall-to-wall mirrors, and eager-to-please saleswomen. In fact, the only thing missing is a cash register.  

Welcome to Bobbie’s Place.

This decade-old shop provides 8,500 boys and girls with Yom Tov wardrobes and winter coats each year — free of charge. Designed for families who cannot always afford new clothing, its mission is twofold: to clothe children while preserving their dignity.

Young shoppers have no idea that Bobbie’s Place isn’t your regular boutique. Accompanied by their parents, these children savor the rare shopping experience, trying on piles of beautiful, brand-new outfits and admiring themselves in the mirror as they agonize over which to choose. Once the momentous decision is made, they exit the store proudly, clutching bulging bags of stunning outfits.

Behind every great chesed operation stands a great man or woman; Bobbie’s Place has both. Michal Schick, dubbed “the Angel of Midwood” by some, takes care of the ordering and day-to-day running of Bobbie’s Place; her husband Avi — who served as New York State Deputy Attorney General and is now a partner in a New York City law firm — runs the business end. Together, they’re an indomitable pair.

What was the impetus for their one-of-a-kind organization? Did Michal ever envision herself doing this? Why did she choose this particular chesed? And how does she balance her responsibilities at home with her chesed commitments? Family First spoke with Michal, the heart and soul of Bobbie’s Place, to get a peek into the makings of a chesed laureate. 

 

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