Posts Tagged ‘meals on wheels’

Being on the Giving End

June 21, 2017

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Rivi has spent the last two hours in her kitchen running from sink to counter, fridge to oven. The smells are mouth-watering. Roast chicken, potato kugel…just like you and me. What’s different, you ask.  The difference is the interruptions. Her cell phone seems attached to her ear. A cancer patient calls and is desperate for a ride to the clinic. Her planned transportation fell through and missing her appointment is not an option. She’s crying.  Can Rivi help? Chicken breast in one hand, Transportation Roster in the other, she scrolls down, makes first call. Negative. Second. Third. Bingo. A volunteer is able to drop everything and make the trip. Back to the schnitzel. But only until the next call. Mrs. D. was recently diagnosed with cancer. The family is falling apart. There’s no food for Shabbos. The father had planned   on eating cheese with challa for the seudos. More than that he couldn’t handle. Can anything be done? Schnitzel waits patiently on the counter while another roster – this time of volunteers to prepare meals – is consulted.

“How do you do it,” we ask. “How can you manage your own home while dealing with all these major problems?”

“I have strength. I can walk. I am capable of running my home. I’m so thankful. These people that call are not able to do so.”

Rivi Kossover is Assistant director at Ezer Mizion’s Jerusalem branch. She laughs when we ask what her hours are. “Sometimes I leave at three. Sometimes at six. It depends on what’s going on.” It’s quite obvious that Rivi’s work hours do not end when she arrives home. Like all Ezer Mizion staff, she doesn’t know the meaning of regular work hours. “Work is over when no one needs me,” she feels. “How can I relax with a magazine if a cancer patient is in tears a few blocks away?”

Rivi takes a lemon cake out of the oven and puts it on the cooling rack to await its lemon icing. Maybe it will get iced. Maybe not. It depends on the interruptions. Some weeks the cake is “iced” with chessed.  But it’s always yummy.

“I can put my housework on some kind of schedule but I never know what will be needed at Ezer Mizion. People go through crises and we try to be there for them. Like the call I got from a neighbor the other day. Five kids, two in their teens and three even younger, were taking care of their cancer-stricken mother. They were wonderful, putting their own lives on hold and giving everything they had to the mother they so loved.  But they’re only human and those kids desperately needed a break. Could I arrange something? Well, I have a picture of those kids waving from a boat, looking as if they don’t have care in the world. They had a wonderful day, just being kids and it gave them strength to go on. it’s called Vitamin Fun. They’ll need another shot of vitamins every so often. Ezer Mizion will make sure they get it.”

A little boy in one family is doing poorly in school. His father used to review with him every night but now Abba is either at the hospital or recuperating from chemo. The young child, forced to grow up too soon, tiptoes through his house, afraid to disturb. He doesn’t even mention his 40 in the last quiz. That’s all history now. Ezer Mizion has taken over with a volunteer to help him. He’s raising his hand in class with the best of them.

Meals. Rides. Help with the kids. Medical advice. A place to stay during treatment. Emotional Therapy when it becomes too difficult to deal with the fears. Rivi’s phone never rests and neither, it seems, does she but, as she says, “I’m just thankful that I can be on the giving side.”

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

For further info:    5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219    718 853 8400


Compassion Makes the Wheels Go ‘Round

May 10, 2017

When staff really cares. When it’s not just a job…punch in/punch out. When the CEO gives out his cell number to recently orphaned children telling them to call anytime (and they do). When volunteers are inspired to drop what thepr general hel;ioong hand in darky are doing, time and time again, to help out a someone in need… this is compassion at its best.

Sometimes it requires the utmost sensitivity. Like the kallah (bride) whose chassan (groom) was discovered shortly before the wedding to have leukemia. The wedding was rescheduled and the newlywed couple tried to build a home, albeit in a different way than planned, together. Ezer Mizion supported them in every way. The nightmare is over now. Please look over our shoulder, dear reader and supporter, as we read together the letter sent to the Ezer Mizion office. It is your gifts that enable Ezer Mizion to continue being the strong, dependable pillar for so many to lean on.

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An grateful thank you letter from our files

To the Fantastic, Special Organization: Ezer Mizion!

First of all, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your boundless giving and support, which helped us and gave us the tools we needed to get through a most difficult period, physically strong and emotionally healthy.

About two years ago, we got engaged, b’sha’ah tovah u’mutzlachat. The engagement period passed by pleasantly, filled with many hopes and dreams about the home that we would build together and the happy life we would share.

We do not know Hashem’s (G-d’s) calculations, but we do know that everything He does is for the best. And so, a month before our wedding, my husband was diagnosed with leukemia.

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Ezer Mizion, Israel

Suddenly, everything looked different… The wedding was pushed up to take place a few days later, and immediately afterwards, we began treatment. The physical and emotional pain and the challenges involved in these treatments are too complex to describe…

Amid all the agony and frustration, the Ezer Mizion team – a marvelous organization unmatched in its unfaltering assistance and support – appeared on the scene, truly loyal messengers. They helped us in countless ways, both practical and emotional. They were always there, even before we realized we needed something.

Ezer Mizion wisely and gently set us up with an expert therapist, which, in our sensitive situation, was truly a lifesaver!! She listened, supported, encouraged, and counseled us. She baruch Hashem (thank G-d) helped us in this very delicate situation, not to break down, but to remain happy, strong, optimistic, and full of emunah (faith), using our challenge to grow and form an even closer bond.

Again, we feel eternally grateful to those who were behind all this outpouring of chessed- those who helped, those whose financial support enabled this help…

We give you our heartfelt blessings that you should always be on the giving end, in good health, joy and happiness, and may Divine assistance accompany you in all your endeavors.

With our greatest appreciation,

Moshe and Chedvah


Cancer Support via What’s App

 Compassion…Sometimes it requires the flexibility of changing plans at the drop of a hat. A family with three small children recently emigrated to Israel from France. Resettling was hard enough but became overwhelming when the wife was suddenly diagnosed with cancer. Rides to the clinic, professional emotional support, regular meals, child care assistance, medical advocacy would all be theirs in a short time.  But right now, this morning when Ezer Mizion became aware of their plight, they needed lunch. Food strengthens the body. Food invigorates the soul. Food enables the family to handle the crisis suddenly thrust upon them. And no lunch was yet on schedule.  A call went out to volunteers: I know it’s very short notice but can anyone provide a hot lunch for five people today and for the next two days? In 1.5 minutes, that’s ninety seconds (!), one of our angels responded. A delicious, attractively served lunch was prepared by one volunteer, delivered by another to the family on time as if it were weeks in the preparation.

Ezer Mizion: where caring and compassion provides the electricity that makes the wheels go ‘round.

Would you like to join the ‘wheel of compassion’?


Hospital Rounds

April 19, 2017

helping handssI was trying. Friends and relatives were also helping. The situation was beyond hopeless and I was helpless to keep things together.   I had three children in three separate hospitals, located in various parts of the country. One was in a mental hospital, two in medical hospitals. Can you imagine the anguish, the sights I witnessed daily? The despair when I had to leave one to visit another. The tiny bewildered faces at the window at home watching Mommy leave…again. The exhaustion- both physical and emotional. The frustration when twenty-four hours were far from enough in each day. The astronomical expenses incurred on top of less money coming in.

A friend gave me a number to call. “Perhaps these people would be able to get you a ride once in awhile,” she suggested. I was skeptical. “Why would anyone outside of my immediate circle want to help?” I wondered. But I was desperate and thought I would give it a try. Even one ride would be something. Well, that number enabled me to enter a world I never realized existed. A world where complete strangers really cared and gave up their time and energy to help. It was the number to Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life, a What’s App program connecting people in Israel and even around the world.

A friendly, sensitive operator answered and said she would pass on the message. I thought that would be the end of it and was surprised to be contacted almost immediately. It was a short Friday and I needed to visit all three children. “Perhaps he could drive me to the first one,” I timidly asked. Well, Yossie drove me to the first one, came back to pick me up and drive me to the second, returned to drive me to the third where I would be staying for Shabbos, delivered a car-full of delicious Shabbos food to my home, food that my family had not seen in weeks, plus Shabbos food for me at the hospital. Yossie and his family continued to help. It was only later that I found out that he had made a bris for his grandson during that period and his help was certainly needed at home. Yet he and his family rallied to help me, a person they had just met.

More volunteers came after Shabbos- some to do homework with the kids, some to help with housework, some to take the kids out to buy much needed school supplies (with ice cream afterwards for a treat). The food continued to come daily, delivered by people who really understood. For rides, all I needed to do was dial the number and a driver would materialize at my doorstep, always a person whose caring could only be matched by that of the next one.

Ezer Mizion was my family’s savior. We never could have made it through that period without them.

Linked to Life…We’re all connected!

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

For further info:              5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219               718 853 8400





Lottie’s Kitchen: Yellow Sunshine in a Black Hole

July 15, 2015

Life was fine. There were the usual bumps in the road. Nothing to write home about. That was before I fell into a black hole.

It had been a frustrating few weeks. My son wasn’t feeling well. It threw my schedule off what with having to take off so many days from work. Appointments had to be cancelled. Some clients weren’t too happy. The doctor prescribed some medication and I thought we were done but a few days later we were back in his office, another day off from work. It was really getting to my son also. It was no fun for him to hear all about the funny things that happened at school from friends at night. He wanted to be back on his regular schedule. He even missed a school trip. We were both in lousy moods, frustrated at not being able to get back to our routines. The phone rang one afternoon. They were calling from the doctor’s office. Finally a diagnosis. “Mrs. P, the doctor would like you to take your son to the Hematology Emergency Room.” I got excited. I had no idea what all that meant. All I could think of was that we were finally getting somewhere. Well, we did get somewhere. And that somewhere was a big, frightening black lk pix preparing food

I sat there in front of the doctor’s desk, part of my mind wondering if I could still make my afternoon appointment. That’s when I heard the words that no mother ever wants to hear. Deathly ill, he said. I sat there stunned. I couldn’t absorb it. I was shell-shocked. How could I have been frustrated at schedules?!

Work began immediately. For the hospital, it was routine. For me, it was a horrific nightmare. The staff was professional. Well, I certainly wouldn’t have wanted them to be unprofessional! That meant pages and pages of applications to be filled out when I could barely focus enough to provide them with my address. Blood tests. My son was terrified. He needed a strong Mommy and I was a fragile reed. X-rays, more blood tests. Hours and hours of waiting for results, only to be told that another test was needed. I felt faint. I rested my head on the table, barely aware of my surroundings.

I have no idea how long I lay there. Drained. Depleted. Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. A gentle touch. So caring. “ You’ve been here a long time, I’m told,” came the soft voice of an angel. “You’re worn out. Have something to drink. You’ll feel better.” She helped me sip the hot, comforting drink, all the while holding my hand and assuring me that she and all her co-staff members will remain with me throughout the ordeal. They’ll be there to advise me every step of the way. They’ll send someone to stay with my son so I can have a break. They’ll care for the other children when I’m at the hospital. They’ll….so many things. I couldn’t even remember them all. She brought me a hot meal and sat with me while I ate. I felt like withered plant now rejuvenated under the rays of the warm, healing sun. She’d be back. Every day. Infusing me with spirit. But on that day, I didn’t even have the strength to say thank you.

Thus began my love affair with Ezer Mizion’s Lottie’s Kitchen.

Whatever I needed, Ezer Mizion was right there. When my son needed platelets for 42 days straight, I had no idea where to turn. I was told to call Ezer Mizion and it was Ezer Mizion that found 42 donors who were happy to spend a few hours in the hospital to help a little boy that they didn’t even lk 2012 1440_ne_photo_stories3_ae974

The Lottie’s Kitchen volunteers would often know what I needed even before I did. Rides to the hospital, a place to stay near the hospital, even a fun day off now and then with someone to stay with my son while I recharged my batteries. And they would help arrange it, notifying one of the Ezer Mizion departments of what was needed.

I was certain that we would have to postpone the Bar Mitzvah of my older son. Planning a Bar Mitzvah required time and energy and I was overdrawn on both. But Ezer Mizion was there for that also and offered us a choice of their setting up the whole thing from top to bottom or providing us with enough help so that we can do it on our own. Regardless of our choice, they said, Ezer Mizion would remain with us helping, supporting in whatever way is needed.

I met others during our months at the hospital. Others who had a similar story. Like the woman who looked so put together- the type who always knew her way around. She was from overseas and had flown in to be with her sister who was seriously- very seriously- ill. She went straight from the airport to the hospital and spent hours at her sister’s bedside. She knew no Hebrew and had no contacts in the country. She knew nothing of how to get around in Israel and couldn’t leave her sister even for a moment. She was beyond exhausted and didn’t know where to turn. She realized that if she didn’t get help soon, she would be the next patient. She was familiar with Ezer Mizion and even supported its Cancer Division. A quiet knock on the door introduced her to Lottie’s Kitchen, one of Ezer Mizion’s other divisions. No brochure could have explained as lucidly and poignantly the mission of Lottie’s Kitchen, she told me. The taste of that first meal, the caring voice of the one who delivered it will always be one of her most moving memories. Like clockwork, the Lottie’s Kitchen volunteers appeared each day for months, bringing nutrition for both body and soul.

An older woman staying with her very ill daughter told me how on the first Shabbat after the diagnosis, the family had planned that the husband would be with his wife over Shabbat and the children would be farmed out. Then, three hours before Shabbat, she decided that she would stay in the hospital with her daughter, so that the father could be home with his children.
A small light flickered on fifty screens: “Shabbos meals needed for a family of ten.” In fifty homes, they started setting aside portions from the food that was ready, defrosting ingredients, rolling up their sleeves, and sending out flickering, glowing messages: “We’ll prepare ten portions of fish, “Three salads – taken care of,” “Five challahs waiting here for pickup,” “Seven portions of chicken and a tray of oven-baked potatoes, “Ten schnitzels will be ready in another fifteen minutes, “Dessert for two meals,” “Shabbos will be here in another hour and a half, and I’m starting the pickup now…”
And so, within an hour, the dishes were collected and brought to the family’s home. Only Lottie’s Kitchen could have pulled that one off, she said.
A young couple described their recent hospital stay with their tiny son. “We are both in the ward non-stop. A month in the hospital! A month! Twenty-eight days… when all you see are syringes, doctors, nurses, and patients, lots and lot of patients. Parents trying to cope, people whose whole reality was turned upside down. Lottie’s Kitchen volunteers flit through, giving out hot meals to everyone, and then again with a wagon full of prizes for the sick child, and yet again with refreshing coffee and cake for us.”

A woman I met in the ER during the recent war told me, “I live in Ashdod. The constant sirens, running to the shelter, the unrelenting tension – were grinding us down. Finally, I decided we needed a break. My husband couldn’t leave his job, but I took the kids on the bus and headed for Jerusalem, to family, to get some peace and quiet.
“On the last leg of the bus ride, the driver had to make a short stop. My son flew forward, knocked his head and got a nasty cut. I knew it’s not serious, but… Three weeks in Ashdod, and not a scratch, baruch Hashem. And now – this…” She was there in ER for hours and her little boy was starved. She was so overwhelmed. But not for long. Two hot meals, sandwiches for later, and warm, reassuring words. The woman from Ashdod came to life at this show of attention, and her son smiled for the first time. They are really unbelievable, those Lottie’s Kitchen volunteers.”
It seemed as if everyone I spoke to in the hospital had a ‘Lottie’s Kitchen story’. Not surprising when you see the extent of what is provided each year:
81,600 Hot Meals
83,200 Sandwiches
13,000 Cookies / Cakes
The backbone of Ezer Mizion’s Lottie’s Kitchen is all of you, our dear friends and supporters. The long-awaited 2015 Lottie’s Kitchen Event took place on July 8 at the magnificent home of Rina and Eli Cohen in Deal, NJ. Professional food demos, a most unique Kitchen Boutique, a choice of the most lavish Chinese Auction packages and, of course, Portraits with Susan Menashe. The guests left with bags of winnings, elegant pastries purchased at the Lottie’s Kitchen Bakery and the glow that comes from a fulfilling day of giving to their sisters and brothers across the ocean.

For further info: