Seth and Hindy Poupko Galena freely admit they do not know what it feels like to be affected by senseless gun violence.
But the Jewish couple does know the pain of losing a young child, having struggled as their 2-year-old daughter, Ayelet, fought a losing battle with a rare bone marrow disease.
When Seth Galena heard the eulogies for Noah Pozner, the Jewish boy who died in the Newtown school shooting, he wanted to do something to ease the pain of the family. He came up with “Tacos For Noah.”
“I read the eulogies given by Noah’s mother and uncle, both of which mentioned his love of tacos. The tacos really stuck with me,” Seth Galena, 35, said. “I printed out Noah’s photo Tuesday morning and put it up on my office wall and kept looking at it.”
Seth Galena told some of his co-workers at VML, an advertising firm, about his thoughts. In not much time at all, the idea to create a virtual taco factory for Noah was generated.
With the support of the firm’s technical director, Seth Galena, who does not know the Pozners, had the “Tacos for Noah” site up and running after three hours of work Tuesday evening. When people click to “make” a taco on the site, they are directed to their own personal Twitter account, thus sending their wishes in memory of Noah (and spreading the word about #tacosfornoah ) out to all their followers.
“It was so clear to me that something had to be done in relation to who Noah was, to the real, tangible things that resonated for him,” said Seth Galena. “Focusing on the tacos makes it more real, more understandable.”
“We’ve learned how to respond through our experience,” added Seth Galena. “People are talking about the larger issues related to the shooting, but I wanted to focus on what made this kid who he was.”
Hindy Poupko Galena, 29, gave all credit for the idea to her husband.
But she had also been trying to think of a way to let the parents of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims know that she understands their pain.
“You can’t exactly compare a child dying from a gun attack to one dying of a serious illness,” Hindy Poupko Galena said. “But I do think I know the pain of losing a child more intimately than others. If only I could talk to those mothers and let them know I am here for them.
Noah Pozner’s love for tacos reminded the couple of little Ayelet’s obsession with straws and stickers.
“She loved those,” Seth recalled. “Those were her quirks.”
Noah’s grandmother signalled her approval in her own blog.
“If you want to have a bit of fun with Noah, go make a taco at Tacos for Noah,” the grandmother wrote. “I have no clue who put up that website but I love it. I can’t wait to let the girls loose on it.”