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red hat

What Color is Your Hat?

by Karen Reiffman

0 Comments | Thursday, November 02, 2017 under Food Boxes, Feed-a-Baby

A Special Organization Generously Contributes to Families in Need

What color is your hat?

At Yad Eliezer, our favorite hat color is red.

It’s in thanks to the Red Hat Cares initiative that we received an 8,000 shekel grant towards two of our crucial programs: Feed A Baby and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Established in 1980, Yad Eliezer, Israel’s largest poverty relief organization, now has over 20 economic and social service programs which affect the lives of tens of thousands of people throughout the country-providing them with short term relief such as food boxes and emergency funds but also working to break the cycle of poverty through micro financing and job training programs.

Feed A Baby, a decades old program, provides infant formula to qualifying families who need it but cannot afford it. Each month, approximately 2,000 babies are fed through Feed A Baby, assuring parents that for their child’s first 12-15 months of life (a critical time for a baby’s development), their nutritional needs are being met. This true story captures how vital the program is:

Sara P. had just given birth when her older child Shlomo, two and a half years old, was diagnosed with cancer. Heartbroken, she and her husband found themselves spending every moment looking after their very sick toddler, taking him to his endless appointments and staying with him in the hospital. Caring for their newborn became virtually impossible and they reached out to family for babysitting assistance. But the impoverished couple couldn’t afford the costly formula they needed, in order to feed him. They turned to Yad Eliezer for help and were provided with baby formula. Sara and her husband spent their days and nights at Shlomo’s bedside, while their newborn Dovid was cared for by his grandmother, using the supply of Materna to keep him fed. Tragically, the illness was too powerful and Shlomo passed away. But Sara never forgot how essential the Feed A Baby program was for her family. She recalls to Yad Eliezer, “I lost a child that year, but you saved one.”

Red Hat’s grant is sponsoring baby formula for two babies in need, for an entire year.

Yad Eliezer’s Big Brother/Big Sister program is also benefiting from Red Hat’s gift. Last year, over 4,000 mentors were busy changing lives of kids at risk throughout Israel. These boys and girls are from diverse backgrounds but all have something in common-they are growing up in adverse environments and lack positive role models due to abuse, addiction or other factors. Our qualified Big Brothers and Sisters fill in the emotional gaps in their lives with support, academic help and healthy relationships. Mentors will be found helping their charges with schoolwork, but often also hosting them for Shabbat and holidays and even supporting them at important milestones like bar mitzvahs. This program has had a life-changing impact on countless children, some of whom have grown up to become mentors themselves.

A True Big Brothers Story: When a Father of One is Also a Father of Three
Yochanan is a young, married father with a newborn. He earns a modest salary and also works as a Big Brother for Yad Eliezer.
Shulamit is a single mom taking care of her 2 children completely on her own, following years of her husband’s abuse, and eventually--abandonment.

This is their connection...
One day not long ago, Shulamit became very ill. Doctors determined she would need to be hospitalized for an extended amount of time.
Yochanan had been working with Shulamit’s sons, 10 and 12 years old, as their Big Brother prior to her illness. He helped them periodically with school assignments and homework. Once she was hospitalized, though, the boys found themselves alone for many hours of the day. Shulamit had no friends she could count on, and no family in the picture, so they had to fend for themselves.

After school hours a week or so later, there was an unexpected knock on Yochanan’s door. When he opened it he found two small faces looking up at him-Shulamit’s sons. They were not scheduled for a homework session but Yochanan and his wife welcomed them inside. The boys had realized there was one safe, reliable place they could go to when they had nowhere else-Yochanan’s house. Thus began a daily occurrence of after school visits which progressed to include dinners, hours of “family time” and ongoing adult supervision and care, sustaining them until Shulamit was healthy enough to return home. In just a few weeks Yochanan, for a while at least, had become a father of three.

This is just one of many examples illustrating the importance of Yad Eliezer’s Big Brothers and Big Sisters program. Thanks to Red Hat’s grant, a child in need will benefit from the support of a Big Brother/Sister, this school year.

Yad Eliezer’s mission is to help Israel’s impoverished while preserving their dignity. It is the invaluable support of our donors that enables us to provide the assistance that we do.

So please accept our great appreciation. To you, we tip our hat.


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