When tasked with building a project around the concept of justice, Zach Perchik had only one thought come to mind:
The Wilmette Police Department.
That was the impetus for a bar mitzvah project that culminated Tuesday, Oct. 6, with the presentation of a $1,500 check from Perchik to the WPD outside of Marie Murphy Junior High School.
Along with a coming-of-age celebration, a bar mitzvah also includes a service project. Themes correspond to a Torah reading that is dependent upon the date of the bar mitzvah.
“My Torah portion is about justice and I thought who relates more to justice than the Wilmette Police Department,” Perchik said. “I knew that a lot of schools were having trouble with medical supplies, so thought raising money for the Wilmette Police Department to distribute to schools would be great.”
Seeking advice on how specifically to help, Perchik sat down with Wilmette Police Chief Kyle Murphy last winter. Murphy mentioned medical supplies and specifically the Stop the Bleed Campaign, which provides training and special kits to control blood loss.
This summer, Perchik sent email messages to friends, neighbors, classmates and family explaining the project and asking for donations.
Money flowed in up until Perchik’s bar mitzvah — the first live-streamed by Beth Hillel Bnai Emunah in Wilmette — on Aug. 22.
Thanks to a matching donation from his parents, Ronnie and Nicki Perchik, Zach presented a check for $1,500 to Murphy and the department’s school resources officer, Raymod Pavley.
Pavley works with all public and private schools in Wilmette and has trained school nurses at Avoca 37, Wilmette District 39 and Loyola Academy on Stop The Bleed techniques. He said a Stop The Bleed kit — which includes a tourniquet, compress and more — is about $50, meaning Perchik’s donation can fund 30 kits.
The donation will go to the Police Benevolent Fund and be earmarked for the Stop The Bleed campaign.
“Anything can happen at any time and you have to have a way to stop it,” Perchik said about trauma in schools. “And also like (police) said they train nurses to do it. But because they said they needed more, I thought this would be great to help everyone if something happens.”