Helping is least we can do


Presidents of the United States tend to be rather quotable men. But of the 44 men who have served in the highest office, few are as quotable as Ronald Reagan.

“While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.”

“Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”

“It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”

But there is another Reagan quote that isn’t recited as much, but maybe it should be: “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”

That has been Fredy Loeser’s mantra since the moment he bankrolled his West 231st Street deli with his bar mitzvah money. The very definition of b’nai mitzvah and b’not mitzvah is that these young men and women are now accountable for their actions, including the most basic tenets of their belief: If someone is hungry, give them food; if someone is thirsty, give them drink; if someone is cold, give them shelter.

Fredy has dedicated his life to doing just that. He’s always looked for ways to give back, while providing an opportunity to keep someone’s pride intact.

It wasn’t easy to find Fredy giving, because he never sought fanfare for it. He never sought recognition. If someone was in need, he gave it to them if he could. If they insisted on earning it, he allowed them the opportunity to do it.

But now with the future of his 60-year-old West 231st Street deli in doubt, Fredy doesn’t want to be the recipient of any help. And we understand — he’s a proud man.

Yet, even proud men need help sometimes, and they should be willing to accept it. If the community bands together — and the community certainly should band together — to help keep this long-standing business open, let them help.

It’s a chance for a community to put into practice what it has learned from the decades of giving from Fredy. That while we can’t help everyone, everyone can help someone.

Right now, that someone is Fredy Loeser. The deli has been Fredy’s entire life, and something he hoped to leave as his legacy for his children and grandchildren.

Fredy doesn’t deserve to have his dream end this way, nor should we let it. At least not without a fight.

And Fredy, please let the community help. It’s the least we can do, after all you’ve done for us.

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