Miriam Cohen did not know what else to do to help her struggling family. The Israeli mother of nine children was living in squalor and drowning in debt.
“My husband only makes a minimum salary,” she explained to Breaking Israel News. “I try to work as much as I can but it doesn’t bring in very much money.”
Miriam’s son heard about an organization called Karmey Chesed which strives to help anyone in need, as much as their resources will allow. “Hearing about Karmey Chesed gave me hope that help would soon be arriving,” said Miriam. “I jumped from joy upon the news and immediately contacted Aryeh Weingarten, the Director of the organization.”
Weingarten is not your ordinary charity organization director. He is a fully hands-on guy who personally visits families in need or sends one of his staff to assess the situation. “Most people do not like to ask for help,” Weingarten told Breaking Israel News. “When desperate, they might ask for food. But, when we visit their homes, we realize that they are also in need of furniture, heat, bill payments or more.”
In fact, that was exactly the situation with the Cohen family. They were drowning in debt from loans they were forced to take out just to feed their large family. Their apartment was in total disrepair with wobbly chairs, a broken refrigerator given to them by a neighbor and no electrical appliances to speak of.
“Out of desperation, a neighbor had given them a refrigerator that had no shelves and was dripping water,” said Weingarten. “It also froze the fruits and vegetables. But, when you have nothing else to use, you manage with what you have.”
On top of everything else, Miriam’s son was planning a wedding, leading to even more loans and expenses. “Though they were living as simply as anyone possibly could, they were drowning in debt and had no idea how they would manage to help make their son’s wedding and set up his new life in a respectable way,” noted Weingarten to Breaking Israel News.
Karmey Chesed is an organization which daily fulfills the Biblical doctrine, “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother.” (Deuteronomy 15:7). Their programs include the Green Charity, which distributes refurbished furniture and appliances; the Home Utilities Program, which helps pay the bills of the poor; food distribution; helping poor brides and grooms; and more. The Cohen family qualified for assistance from all of these branches of the organization.
“Aryeh not only was glad to help us in any way he could, but he also made himself available to us day and night,” Miriam told Breaking Israel News. “He got us a new refrigerator with a freezer, proper chairs, needed electrical appliances and furniture, helped us to pay off our debts and even delivered food baskets before the holidays.”
A beaming Miriam continued, “I can’t even express the joy and relief my family and I feel. It was like the best ever dream coming true.”