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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


July 14, 2017  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Museum seeks funds to continue sending out ‘Trunks of Hope’ to teach kids about Holocaust

Students examine contents of “teaching trunk” from the Florida Holoaust Museum. Students examine contents of “teaching trunk” from the Florida Holoaust Museum. More than 72 years after prisoners of the Auschwitz concentration camp were liberated in January 1945; the Holocaust is little more than a vague concept to modern elementary and middle school age students.

For about 23 years, the Florida Holocaust Museum (FHM) has worked to change this, sending out “teaching trunks,” filled with materials that can be used by educators to teach their students about the Holocaust, other genocides, character education and to combat hate and prejudice today. These materials include books, videos, maps, diaries, photos, artwork, guidelines, lesson plans and more. The boxes are free upon request by any educator nationwide.

The museum has a total of 75 trunks, each one being sent to schools and returned to the museum multiple times each year.

Some trunks are for grades 1-2, some for grades 3-5, some for grade 5, some for middle school and some for high school. Each box costs the museum approximately $300 round-trip, which has made it difficult for the museum to continue offering the trunks for free. So, for the third consecutive year, the museum is conducting a “Trunks of Hope” fundraising campaign in an effort to cover shipping costs.

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, all donations will go farther than ever before. The anonymous donor will match every dollar donated up to $5,000. Anyone who donates to the Trunks of Hope campaign will be eligible to win free box seats to an upcoming Tampa Bay Rays game.

The trunks are designed to be age appropriate and touch on everything from basic respect and tolerance for younger children to more in depth studies for the older students. Besides their educational component, the trunks were created to combat hate and prejudice in today’s society.

With their teaching trunks campaign, the museum has reached more than 1 million students, providing them with knowledge of the horrors of the Holocaust in the hope that the students will then take this information and put it towards making their communities and the world a better place.

“Six million [Jews who died in the Holocaust] is a number that is so far out of reach to compare with anything, and the students were able to grasp the horrific and absolute pain, torture and death,” said Patricia Golden, a seventh and eighth grade teacher at Lehigh Acres Middle School. “Most of my kids had never heard of the Holocaust; this was such a powerful learning experience for them. Their wish is for peace, love and tolerance for all.”

During the 2016 campaign alone, Trunks of hope reached more than 50,000 students in 21 different states.

“I learned about how horribly Jews and other people were treated,” wrote one student in a thank you letter to the museum. “I also learned that there are people in the world that care enough to fight for their beliefs and that there are also people out there who try to destroy them. I learned lots more, but just wanted to thank you for this opportunity to be able to pass along the message.”

To support the museum’s Trunks of Hope campaign and help provide teaching trunks to educators nationwide, visit or text the keyword “Trunks” to 855-735-2437.

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