Of the 60 people who helped stuff more than 1,500 bags with donated treats for participants in the eighth annual Robbie’s Run, many were children.
Some were friends of Jared, Jonah and Rachel Zeitlen, whose mother, Elisde, has coordinated and hosted the goody-bag packing event for eight years. Some went to Merrick Avenue Middle School with Josh Levine, brother of Robbie, who died of heart failure in 2005 at age 9, in whose honor Robbie’s Run is held each year.
The organizers said all of the volunteers came to support Forever 9: The Robbie Levine Foundation, which purchases automated external defibrillators for school ballfields and holds classes in cardiopulmonary resuscitation to prevent a tragedy such as that which befell Robbie Levine. Robbie’s parents, Jill and Craig Levine of Merrick, founded Forever 9.
Volunteers gathered at Zeitlen’s Merrick home on April 6 to pack gift bags for participants of the run, which will take place on April 28.
Foundation officials said there were more volunteers for the bag-packing event than ever, and they assembled everything in an hour. Volunteers formed a line outside Zeitlen’s home, packing donated items into gift bags that featured the Forever 9 logo.
Items found in the bags included coupons provided by Chiro Mom of Bellmore, European Wax Center in Merrick and Square Deal Coupons, along with healthy snacks like Medora PopCorners.
Packing the gift bags was an integral part of preparations for Robbie’s Run, which will start and finish at Norman J. Levy-Lakeside Elementary School in Merrick.
The run will feature many children’s activities, including a half-mile “fun run” around the bases at the Lakeside School at 8:30 a.m., lessons for children 10 and under from the U.S. Tennis Association and two magicians.