As the Jewish calendar comes to a close and Jews all over the world take an accounting of their past year’s deeds, Colel Chabad, Israel’s premiere charity supporting the Holy Land’s neediest since 1788, is taking an accounting of the help they have given throughout the country.
Though the organization runs a large network of social welfare programs including hospital summer camps for sick children, bar and bat mitzvah celebrations for orphans, day care centers, and The Grabski Center which treats people with multiple sclerosis (MS) using cutting-edge innovations, their first priority is to ensure that Israel’s hungry have proper food to eat and their basic needs are filled.
“Colel Chabad, through the generous donations of our supporters and with help from Israel’s government, spent $20 million through our National Project for Food Security in 2017,” explained Rabbi Shmuel Lipsker, Colel Chabad’s administrator, to Breaking Israel News. “Though now we are focusing on ensuring that Israel’s neediest citizens have food, clothing and household supplies for the High Holidays, the reality is that the help we give now is similar to our distributions every month throughout the year.”
In fact, just for the High Holidays, starting September 21 and running through October 13, Colel Chabad is distributing food, prepaid shopping vouchers and household supplies to 7,800 families who fall into the following categories:
59 percent of families receiving food packages are single parent households
11 percent of heads of households receiving help suffer from a handicap or mental illness
10 percent of the people receiving help are victims of domestic violence
10.5 percent of families receiving help are immigrants from the former Soviet Union
9 percent of families receiving help were born in Ethiopia
9 percent of households receiving help have a special needs child
Colel Chabad also provides empowerment programs which teach participants how to get out of the vicious cycle of poverty through education and budget training. 75 percent of families that receive aid from Colel Chabad participate in this program.
Additional unique Colel Chabad programs include the “Chesed Menachem Mendel Young Widows With Young Children” program which gives nearly 850 widows food shopping vouchers. “Each of these families has a personal relationship with Colel Chabad,” said Rabbi Lipsker. “We provide them with regular help throughout the year. But, for the holidays, we do what we can to make their lives more festive and joyful.”
The “Food Crates for the Elderly and Homebound” program ensures that people who cannot shop for their own needs but are able to cook and prepare their own meals, receive basic food and household goods delivered directly to their homes. 4,000 elderly Israelis throughout the country receive this help.
“Meals-on-Wheels For Elderly and the Homebound” are delivered to 1,500 people throughout Israel to ensure that those who cannot shop or cook for themselves have freshly cooked meals each day and the friendly company of volunteers who deliver these meals.
Colel Chabad also maintains a network of 24 soup kitchens throughout Israel which not only supply 3,100 hungry souls with their sole daily source of a hot nutritious meal but also gives Israel’s most marginalized citizens an opportunity to socialize. Each and every day of the year, including holidays, meals are served in these soup kitchens with dignity and respect.
The organization does what it can to create a quality future for orphans and children from impoverished homes, giving them a sense of self respect and normalcy. “At the onset of the new school year and before the High Holidays, Colel Chabad distributed 2,500 vouchers for children’s clothing stores,” said Rabbi Lipsker.
“No one should underestimate the importance of a new pair of shoes, suit or dress as these can make all the difference in a child’s joy and self confidence. Especially for the holidays, we must bring joy to the lives of struggling individuals and families and, in that merit, may everyone have a blessed New Year.”
To support Colel Chabad’s life-saving and enriching programs, please donate here.