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Best Tips for Surviving the Israeli Winter

Yad Eliezer's recipients have a different list than most-donate to help fill it

by Karen Reiffman

0 Comments | Monday, January 13, 2020 under Volunteering, Food Boxes, Feed-a-Baby, Surplus Produce, Shabbat Chicken, Widow and Orphan Fund, Emergency Fund, Winter Warmth Campaign

I recently read an article, one of those “Best Tips for…” pieces, describing the most effective ways to get through the Israeli winter, comfortably. I should have saved it but I did jot down the writer’s suggestions because working at Yad Eliezer, they struck a chord with me. The ideas are relatively simple and practical, ones that in an average household will indeed make the cold, rainy weather easier to bear. But they got me thinking about the people who come into the office every day, for whom they’re not so practical. Or simple. Here are the first three…

1. Invest in a good coat that will insulate you from the cold
2. Invest in high quality, waterproof boots to protect your feet outside
3. Buy thick socks and slippers to protect your feet inside on cold, stone floors

Good suggestions. And it would be great if the men and women who fill out applications for assistance had money to invest in items like these. But money to buy even the most basic necessities in their homes, like milk or bread, doesn’t exist. Hundreds of shekels to dish out for a coat (or for a family, coats) is out of reach. And ‘hundreds’ become thousands when the costs for boots, socks and slippers are factored in. So good coats and other winter gear remain in the store, never getting purchased.

Other suggestions include heating water early, cooking food and ordering out

4. Heat up the dud (water heater) for at least an hour before you need to shower
In the summer, the water in Israeli homes gets quickly (and cheaply) heated due to the intense, heavy sunshine absorbed through solar panels. But winter months, with their shorter days and often not much sunshine at all, force families to heat water using an electric element. Heating up enough water for a needy family on a daily basis becomes exorbitant, contributing to sky high heating bills that are often too much to pay. When that happens, warning letters from the electric company soon find their way to the home and electricity gets shut off.

Five and six are food related:
Make hearty meat and vegetable soups
Buy plenty of citrus fruits to load up on vitamin C

Groceries are expensive. There’s no two ways about it. The population we help at Yad Eliezer relies on us for food vouchers and food boxes just to try and keep refrigerators from remaining empty. They’ll stretch their food aid as far as possible, and items like meat or chicken or fresh produce are luxuries-not items that are taken for granted or consumed on a consistent basis. 

And number seven:
For dinner, don’t venture out in stormy weather-order in!
I don’t think I even need to talk about this one.

You can help needy families this winter

So what can be done to alleviate the winter cold and discomfort for families who are needy? I’ve written my own list, and I’m calling it “Best Tips for Helping Families in Need This Winter”. Here goes:
1. Donate to our Winter Warmth Campaign. This program provides new heaters, coats and blankets to families throughout the country, keeping them warm day and night.
2. Donate to our Food Support program. Our funds bring stability to needy families, at the highest level of dignity. Recipients choose where and when they want to shop for groceries they choose for their families-no need to wait for a food box others have prepared, or go to an embarrassing food distribution.
3. Donate to our Emergency Fund. Families in need face terrible consequences when an electric bill is overdue, windows in the home are broken, pipes have burst or other circumstances worsen an already dire situation. Contributions can help keep the heat on, and enable repairs to be made that keep the cold out.
4. Donate to our Feed A Baby program. Babies who are malnourished (whether due to a mother’s inability to nurse, or parents’ inability to pay for formula) are at higher risk of health issues when their immune systems are diminished. During the winter months, when colds and viruses pass easily and quickly from person to person, babies are especially at risk. Financial support of this program will keep needy babies properly fed, helping to keep their immune systems at the appropriate level.
5. Donate to our Shabbat Chicken program. Hot chicken on a cold Shabbos makes for an especially enjoyable experience, one that only takes place sporadically in the homes of the poor. Your help enables that experience to occur more than just once in a while..
6. Donate to our Agunos, Grushos and Melamdim program or our Widows & Orphans Fund. Single mothers have an especially difficult time supporting families with the costs of winter necessities, on their own. Your assistance lightens their burden, helps their families and brings relief.

And actually...
7. Donate to any of our incredible programs. Yad Eliezer is one of the top Israeli charities and with so many programs to choose from, all of them expertly and efficiently run, your crucial tzedaka will really make a difference.

Let's hope that all these tips will help everyone have a healthy, more comfortable winter this year.



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