BOCA RATON, Fla. — A 9-year-old Boca Raton girl is combining her passion for art and kindness to help equip medical staff who are fighting the deadly coronavirus.
When she’s not dancing or painting, third grader Ayel Morgenstern’s biggest hobby is coming up with ideas to help people.
"She just dreams and dreams big," said Lauren Morgenstern, Ayel's mother.
"There aren’t a lot of people like that in the world," said neighbor Les Kanis. "You have to wake up and think these things. It’s all spontaneous, it seems like."
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Ayel said that yes indeed, she sleeps on her ideas.
"I just think of them in my sleep and then I tell my mom," said Ayel.
Les and Marsha Kanis agree it’s not something you come across every day, a kid who just really enjoys spreading love.
It started with sunny chairs in honor of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, then Mitzvah rocks to help decorate vandalized tombstones.
In Judaism, placing rocks at grave sites are a sign of respect. Ayel has painted more than 500 of them.
"It should inspire everybody to come through and help other people," said Marsha Kanis.
Especially during hard times.
Seeing images of health care workers wearing uncomfortable protective gear while treating coronavirus patients prompted one of Ayel’s latest ideas: Keppy Bands, made with doctors and nurses in mind.
"Instead of putting it around their ear, they’re going to put it on the button so it relieves pressure behind their ear," said Ayel.
Ayel also started the hashtag #AirHugsForNow, promoting social distancing and kindness in uncertain times
"To help people by not hugging people so they don’t get sick and they don’t spread germs," Ayel said. "It’s just for now, so air hugs for now.”
A reminder that hard times don’t last forever.
"We’ve never experienced this before and we need more of that for sure," said Marsha Kanis.
"Those are the heroes in times like this this is what helps you get through this stuff," said Les Kanis.