Noach M., 20, has been working at a side job for as long as he’s been able, to try and help his mother out. As a single parent with two jobs, Noach never knew a time when she took a break. And despite her long hours, he also never knew a time when their refrigerator was full. The oldest child in the home, Noach felt it was his responsibility to pitch in and help feed his mother and younger siblings, who were used to a diet of sparse meals consisting largely of pasta. Even during his army service, Noach managed to put in a few hours here and there at part time jobs, when he had days off. But the pandemic put an end to that with the closure of the restaurant where he worked. Noach has since tried to pick up another job but has been struggling to find a permanent arrangement. His mother and siblings really feel the lack of Noach’s income and their need has grown even worse.
Deprived of oxygen at birth, Elazar S., now 19, has severe physical disabilities. He relies on his family completely for every need, and has gone through many therapies, requiring rehab equipment, machinery and medical supplies. Elazar’s father is a teacher and his mother tries to work from time to time in the evenings, but mostly takes care of him and his six siblings, which is more than a full time job. With tens of thousands of shekels’ worth of medical debt and little income, the family struggles terribly and resorted to taking out a loan just to try and help make ends meet. But even the monthly amount they need to repay is out of reach.
Their situations may vary, but with the approach of the High Holidays, thousands of needy families like Noach’s and Elazar’s face severe stress, knowing they won’t be able to pay for the holiday meals they wish they could have. Trying to put festive foods on the table, including traditional family dishes that are served every yom tov, is impossible when buying even basic groceries during the year is a daily challenge.
American Friends of Yad Eliezer's IDF Holiday Distribution and High Holidays Campaign are back in full swing, to provide supermarket gift cards to families who are fighting to stay afloat, but are living with unimaginable need. The gift cards, generously supported by donor contributions, make all the difference, enabling parents to shop when it's convenient for them, not forcing them to rely on a distribution that takes place on a certain day and at a specific time. They can also choose exactly what they want, and purchase the necessary ingredients to prepare time-honored recipes their children associate with the chagim. And when it comes time to check out at the register, nobody in the store knows that they were given tzedaka to pay for their purchases. This type of assistance not only preserves families' dignity, it helps them renew their sense of celebration and create a real feeling of yom tov in the home, an invaluable way to start the new year.
With reactions such as “My children couldn’t believe it, they couldn’t hold back their excitement when they saw all the grocery bags on the kitchen floor, full of all different kinds of foods for yom tov... something they haven’t really seen before”, and “We went from planning to have sandwiches for the chagim, to preparing soup and chicken and vegetables…!” we know the impact we’re making is not only a big one, but one that is of the utmost importance.
Join us at American Friends of Yad Eliezer, as we make the holidays feel the way they should, for poor soldiers’ families and countless others who only know need. We will transform their days of anxiety into days of celebration.