Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’

The View from Both Ends

July 4, 2018

helping handssIt feels good to give. Seeing the joy on another person’s face because of something that you did is an experience that cannot be defined. I know about that. I joined Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life awhile back. L2L is  WhatsApp group that can be called for rides, deliveries of vital supplies and a zillion other requests by people who are dealing with serious illness. I’ve given rides to many people. Sometimes it’s a young mother counting the seconds until she can be back at the bedside of her baby who is fighting for his life at the hospital. She had planned to go by bus – even though she is beyond exhausted – until someone mentioned that she should try calling Linked to Life. In a few minutes, I appear at her doorstep, ready to give her door-to-door service. The utter joy on her face is the ‘gas’ that keeps me going even though, shortly before the request call came in, I was ready to fall into bed myself. Then there was the time I answered a call to pick up a vital blood sample from the airport and bring it to a doctor. “I’ve got a ten-year-old child waiting at the hospital. This little tube of blood can save her life,” the doctor thanked me. I’m sure I don’t have to explain to you that those words made me feel seven feet tall.

 

But now I want to tell you about another ride to Tel HaShomer Hospital. This time I wasn’t the driver. This time I was the drivee.  A family member was ill and all of us rallied to take shifts. But normal responsibilities did not disappear. A full workday remained. Homework with kids etc. You all know the routine. And on top of it all, the trip to the hospital via a couple of buses. Suddenly a precious Ezer Mizion volunteer appears. For him, too, it is the end/beginning/middle of a work day, but, with a big smile, he takes you to the hospital and back. Just like I never fully realized what I was doing, he cannot even imagine what a huge chessed he is doing with this “simple” ride.

I greet my relative and take care of his needs until he is ready for a nap. Then I wander around the hospital ward and notice a mother looking very frightened. When I ask her how I can help out, she explains that there is a special medication that she’d left at home. Quickly, I ‘flip to my other hat’. I send a message to the Linked to Life coordinator: Who can deliver a medicine from Bnei Brak to the hospital? Almost instantly, someone responds to fill her need.

The happiness, the emotion, and the blessings that burst forth from that mother’s heart the moment the medicine arrived!

I meet here the wonderful Ezer Mizion volunteers who come to give out coffee, cake, and hot food to family members during the long, hard waiting time. When I ask them how they got here and how they are getting home, they answer proudly – “With the Linked to Life volunteers.”

Dear fellow Linked to Life members, you are an important and critical part of this remarkable chessed chain of Ezer Mizion.   At moments like these, I am prouder than ever to be a member of this holy group. In the hope and prayer that all of us should always be on the giving end – only.

Want to join Linked to Life? No matter where on the planet you live, you will be welcomed.

SMS 011 972 52 580 8936

 

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Nightmare: the Common Denominator

June 27, 2018

pr special sunIt’s 1:30 on a long summer Friday afternoon. There are twelve vehicles parked in the parking lot of Park Enav in Modi’in.  The doors open and fifty-eight (!) children burst out of the cars ready for an afternoon of fun. Who are they?

Each one has a different story but the common denominator is that each one is living through a nightmare that no child should ever know. One has lost a parent to cancer, another is battling cancer himself and a third came home one day to find that his mother had gone on a simple shopping trip never to come home again due to a terror attack. (more…)

Caring for the Caretaker

June 20, 2018

Lottie ChalomMany years ago there had been a place called Lottie’s kitchen. It was a small kitchen in a home teeming with good deeds. Lottie, a culinary expert, produced trays and trays of goodies which were largely consumed by her many friends. They would gravitate to this island of warmth and compassion to discuss their personal woes with a woman who seemed to have never-ending patience.

 

Lottie and her husband and partner in good deeds, Chaim, have since passed on. Their four daughters deemed it appropriate to found Lottie’s Kitchen in Israel under the auspices of Ezer Mizion. It is there that nutritious, attractive meals are produced, packed and delivered to family members sitting at the bedside of a hospitalized loved one. Women of all ages volunteer– from teens to the sprightly 85-year-old golden-ager who makes her way to Lottie’s Kitchen with a walker. She had been a chef in her younger years. Her day at Lottie’s Kitchen enables her to make use of her skills and offer advice to the younger set.  For the elderly, it is a two-way good deed as it enables them to have structure to their day and meet with similarly minded women as they work.

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Israel hospitals do not provide more than basic medical care for its patients.  The nursing staff is unable to take the time for the little extras that can make all the difference to a patient’s spirit. A family member therefore, tries to be there for as much as possible of the 24-hour day. Running from work responsibilities to home responsibilities and then making a mad dash to take over a shift at the hospital does not leave the caretaker much time or emotional space to even think of her own needs. A coke and a bag of chips from the vending machine will often be her only fare for weeks. Distraught, tense, worn out, a mother will sit with her six year old, trying to distract him from the constant question of “Mommy, when will G-d make the leukemia go away?”

 

And then, like a angel, there enters a Lottie’s Kitchen volunteer with a steaming hot, delicious meal. She’ll offer her a chance to talk, to share her story, to ask advice. Mommy can’t believe it. Someone is caring for the caretaker!

 

Orders are filled – some of them very specific. Any meals left over at the end of the day will be given to the dialysis patients who find it so difficult to go back to normal routine just hours after treatment.

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Nechama, the head cook, considers herself just a small cog in the wheel of good deeds. But those at Lottie’s Kitchen know that it is she that creates the ambience of giving, of loving. More and more.  The Lottie’s Kitchen Family was treated to a trip to pray at the holy places in Israel. Nechama would have loved to join but she realized she would have to cut corners in her cooking. To give ‘her’ people anything less than perfection was unthinkable. So she opted out, citing a quote from the Chofetz Chaim’s works, Ahavas Chessed, that doing good deeds is an especially opportune time to pray. ”I won’t lose out at all,” she assured her friends as they boarded the bus.

 

Lottie’s Kitchen, one of the many divisions of Ezer Mizion, an empire of chessed.

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.

 

 

 

Giving Again and Again and Again

June 6, 2018

chocolates.jpgWhen a person wakes up each day with the thought of how can I make things better for someone else, then answers seem to abound. Rabbi Chananya Chollak, founder of Ezer Mizion, is such a person. The most recent idea has been collaboration with Chasdei Naomi to brighten the lives of hundreds of holocaust survivors on the Yom Tov of Shavuot. These very special heroes often live on a fixed income. Their food expenditures are perforce minimal and only the lower cost items enter their kitchens.  Chasdei Naomi’s ongoing food distribution is intended to help the needy survive. Luxury items are not included. This year, Ezer Mizion collaborated with Chasdei Naomi to enable these holocaust survivors to enjoy the higher priced dairy items in honor of Shavuot. Pastries, chocolates, fruit yogurts were included in the packages. Tears filled the eyes of each of the organizers as the profuse thanks poured out from the recipients for items that may grace the shelves of an average refrigerator during the week but were completely out of reach for these venerated golden-agers even for Yom Tov.

pr golden 2 14 yom tzilulim DSCF1200Rabbi Chollak’s attitude filters down to each member of the professional staff and even to the over twenty-five hundred volunteers. These volunteers take time from their personal lives to help out those suffering from illness and other crises. Some become mentors to children who have hardly seen their parents in months due to serious illness. They take them shopping for school supplies, do homework with them and even take them on an occasional fun trip. Others volunteer to pack food for those spending hours at the bedside of an ill parent or child…or deliver food packages…or drive them to the hospital…or put together a Bar Mitzvah for a child whose parents have no time or emotional space left what with caring for his cancer-stricken sibling…or pick up vital medication from the airport or…the list goes on and on. These volunteers give many hours with no remuneration other than then satisfaction of helping  another Jew. And so each year, on erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan (the day before the month of Sivan begins- a day specifically suitable for prayer), Ezer Mizion shows its appreciation by undertaking a major trip to holy sites for these volunteers. This year they visited the gravesites of the Shelah Hakadosh, Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and poured out their heartfelt prayers.

lk del ok to use w recipientAfter a long round of fervent tefillot (prayer), the busloads of women were brought to Haifa’s Municipal Sports Center for a special dinner in appreciation of their dedication. A talk was delivered by Rabbanit Menucha Levi who related how her father, Hagaon Rav Shimshon Pincus zt”l once told a mother whose baby cried a lot that “When a Jewish child cries, the Shechinah (G-d) cries with him.” She continued: “The Ezer Mizion volunteers, who help Hashem’s crying children, allay the tears of the Shechinah (G-d)”lk del ok to use

International Chairman Rabbi Chananya Chollak shlita gave his warm blessings to the volunteers. He said that when he’d gone to Maran Hagaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita to request a special berachah (blessing) for the Day of Prayer Rav Chaim gave his blessing and also asked that the women have him in mind in their prayers. Rabbi Chollak also mentioned that when he once went to Maran Hagaon Rav A.L. Shteinman zatzal, Rav Shteinman asked pleadingly if his efforts for the organization entitled him to have a part in Ezer Mizion, since with what else could he come before the Heavenly Tribunal?

Each volunteer came away feeling valued, knowing that even the g’dolim  (leaders) hold the work of Ezer Mizion in esteem.

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What the Kids Have Discovered

July 6, 2017

helping handssSome say that the new generation is steeped in materialism and can’t see past their ipod screens. Is it true? A recent event in Israel honoring junior volunteers yielded some surprises.

Last summer, M, a sixth grader, noticed something strange going on in her neighbor’s home. “There are two children living there, and I understood that their mother had cancer. She was undergoing treatments, and some of the time, was even hospitalized. And those kids were home alone.” M. decided to help. She invited the kids to her house, which turned into a regular practice. “They come every day after school, eat lunch, do their homework with me and play games. They go home only when a relative arrives to be with them.” M. didn’t see anything extraordinary about what she had been doing but the organizers at the event thought differently and she was singled out for an award.

S joined M on stage also unsure of why she was there. “We have an elderly neighbor with no children or family, and also, almost no money. I think that he doesn’t always even have what to eat. I come to him almost every day with food, sit with him a bit and speak to him. It’s just regular. Anyone would do it.”

Many of these children have discovered Ezer Mizion as the place where there is always a need for chessed. Z has been volunteering for Ezer Mizion since she was seven years old. She just walked in to Ezer Mizion and asked to volunteer. “They didn’t understand what I wanted. After all, I was just a little kid. They smiled and gave me a few jobs, thinking I’d soon get tired and go home. It’s been five years since then, and I’m still there. Twice a week (“Before Yom Tov, every day, and during vacation, all day”)

I come straight from school, put down my book bag in a corner, and get to work. I arrange meal trays, pack up vegetables, and give food to anyone who comes with a note. Sometimes, I go to the preschools and pick up non-perishable leftovers from lunch. Sometimes, I deliver food packages to people’s homes, and other times, I make order in the storeroom, depending on what needs to be done.”

Don’t you ever feel that your volunteering comes at the expense of other fun things, like music or art lessons, or spending time with friends?

“It gives me a good feeling to volunteer, and I also enjoy it. If I have a lesson or club, or if I make up to meet with a friend, I go there after I finish at Ezer Mizion. Before Yom Tov, I was there every day and I helped pack up food packages. I think that helping people who are in need is more important than all the other stuff. It also makes you feel good, in your heart. It leaves you with a taste for more.   I am the youngest volunteer they’ve ever had.”

D has found a different venue for helping others. One can’t help noticing her lovely hair. That hair is now on several other heads in addition to hers. D is grateful for her beautiful hair and feels it’s proper to ‘give back’ by donating it to Ezer Mizion. “When I was five, I saw a picture of a girl who was bald. My mother explained to me that the girl is sick and that part of the treatment for her illness made her hair fall out. To me, that was awful, and I knew that I wanted to help. I said I would give her some of my hair. It’s funny. Usually little kids have ideas that don’t really make much sense. Little did I know that my idea about giving my hair was a real possibility and done by many people. My mother said that I was too small. She assumed I’d forget about it. But I couldn’t. Every time I thought of that girl being so embarrassed walking around with no hair, I wanted to help. Finally, when I got to second grade, my mother agreed.

Did you have any regrets?

“No. I knew that I had plenty of hair and that it would grow back. I actually waited for my hair to grow in enough so that I could donate it again. This year, my braid reached the right length, so I went to have it cut and donated it. I had a lot of hair this time. They might even be able to make two wigs from it.”

D.relates that the day of her haircut was a happy day for her, “because it meant that there would be a girl somewhere who would look in the mirror and forget about her sickness, at least for a few minutes. I try to convince my friends to donate to Ezer Mizion, too, even though each one of them loves her hair and finds it really hard to part with it.”

The stage was soon filled with youngsters who had discovered what many adults do not know. What do you think? Will Ezer Mizion have any problem filling its volunteer slots next generation?

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: www.ezermizion.org              5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219             718 853 8400

 

 

 

 

 

 

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: www.ezermizion.org    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

 

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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’?

 

The Kakoon Family- A Valued Ezer Mizion Partner

May 3, 2017

Kakoon Family ok to use - Dassy- fGiving. It’s the wheel that makes the world go around. Some people have discovered its joys and thrive on ‘being there’ for a friend or neighbor with a problem. The Kakoons are such a family.  Avrohom Kakoon acts as a chazzan (cantor) and spiritual leader at his shul (synagogue). In his spare time, he also volunteers as an emergency respondent for Hatzalah. His wife, Rina, volunteers as a doula, coaches new mothers and young families in managing their home and in parenting, and also cooks and bakes for families of women after birth. As infants, their seven children imbibed the satisfaction that accompanies giving and the sense of responsibility for those less fortunate.  Helping families after birth, running a used clothing center, mentoring youngsters in the community. Driving an ambulance, heading a branch of United Hatzalah, helping out families in the community who are undergoing crises, activity clubs for young people in the community.  The Kakoon siblings are involved in all of these. How can they not be? It was the ambience in the home they grew up in.

When the family discovered Ezer Mizion, they clicked with the organization like a magnet to a paper clip. An entity that does not recognize 9-5 hours, whose founder routinely gives out his private cell phone number to recently orphaned children and tells them to call anytime, whose teenage volunteers vie with their friends to obtain an unpaid position in Ezer Mizion’s summer camp for special kids… Ezer Mizion was the perfect partner for the Kakoons.

They helped out in any way they could. One has even undertaken to head the Ezer Mizion’s Modi’in Linked to Life   group and another its counterpart in the Migdal HaEmek area. Linked to Life is a What’s App Center which connects Jews throughout Israel and even Europe, the US and Canada in order to provide for the needs of people around the globe. A surgical device is needed and can’t wait for regular mail. A man from Eretz Yisroel forgot his vital medication and realizes it only when he a several thousand feet in the air, on his way to California. A wheelchair-bound young man living in the North would like to spend Pesach with his family in Jerusalem and needs a ride in a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. Hundreds of people like this are constantly being helped by heads of groups like the Kakoons and the volunteers who drop what they are doing at a buzz of their phone and race out to help a fellow Jew.

Avrohom and Rina planted strong seeds which continue to flourish into the next generation. Last summer vacation, while her peers were having fun in the pool and park, Avivah, a granddaughter, discovered another kind of fun. She gathered a group of friends and set up a refreshment stand. The girls popped popcorn and prepared gallons of drinks to sell to passersby. The money? It was donated to Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division to help sick children, of course. Ezer Mizion welcomes Avivah as its newest volunteer and awaits her latest ideas to help those less fortunate than herself. Congratulations, Avivah! You have discovered the much sought after key to happiness.

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: www.ezermizion.org              5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219             718 853 8400

Lottie’s Kitchen

June 22, 2016

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Nine hours! Can you imagine spending nine hours with five small, rambunctious children in a hospital setting with no supplies?! It’s the stuff of nightmares but it actually happened to a young mother who became worried about a medical issue in one of her kids and, having no place to leave them, ran out with the whole family to the hospital emergency room. The last thing on her mind was to pack food for herself and her brood and so there she was. Endless waiting with children who needed the comforts of their home. This test. That test. More waiting. Children climbing the walls. Literally.

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Lunchtime passed. As did suppertime. Hungry children do not make for good behavior. It became embarrassing. She understood the looks of her fellow ‘waiters’. “That mother doesn’t know how to discipline her kids!” Mommy also had had nothing to eat since breakfast eons ago. She was worn out, frazzled and worried about her sick child who still had no diagnosis. And then she appeared. A Lottie’s Kitchen volunteer with an attractively packaged meal for Mommy and each of her children. The food was spiced with an encouraging pat on the shoulder, an understanding hug and a promise of snacks later on if they are still there. And there in the hospital emergency room, the sun shone once again. The children became calm and Mommy was strengthened. She felt that she could handle things once again. “Those Lottie’s Kitchen volunteers are angels,” smiled the elderly woman in the seat next to her who, only minutes before, had been glaring at the children and muttering under her breath.

Yes, they are angels. Each one exudes a warmth, an enveloping comfort. They’ll listen, really listen, as the caretaker unloads her concerns. Often, they’ll have a bit of advice. Perhaps a suggestion to connect the family to another segment of Ezer Mizion’s services that will ease the burden: rides to the hospital, a volunteer to do homework with the children while Mommy is busy attending Grandma at the hospital, volunteers to create a Bar Mitzvah celebration which Mommy does not have the emotional stamina or the time to handle… Each Lottie’ s Kitchen volunteer tries her best but rarely fully understands the impact she makes on a family undergoing a crisis. Unless…lkl ok to use IMG-20160616-WA0087

Lets call her Mindy. She volunteers for Lottie’s Kitchen once a week. One day she found herself on the other side of the tray cart. “I’m sorry. I have to cancel,” she told the coordinator. “My husband is sick. He’s hospitalized.” The coordinator heard the tension, the tears in her voice and noted the necessary information onto her daily roster. That afternoon, Mindy was visited by a fellow volunteer bearing a hot, nourishing meal and some encouraging words. And Mindy burst into tears. You don’t understand- I never understood- what it means to sit here hour after hour, so worried, so worn out and exhausted. The doctor had asked me to make a decision regarding a procedure and I felt so dizzy, I could hardly think. I haven’t had a normal meal in days. I just run home at night to spend a quick hour with my kids. Then it’s back again at the hospital. Breakfast was a coke from the machine down the hall. Lunch I skipped. For supper last night I grabbed a yogurt as I was rushing out of the house plus a bag of chips to eat at the hospital. You can’t understand what this means. I want so much to take care of my husband but no one is taking care of me. The volunteer held her as she cried, emotionally spent. The next day, the scene repeated itself. Mindy was, once again, overcome with emotion at the sight of someone arriving to take care of her. For one month, Mindy spent almost all day with her husband and each day, as her strength would ebb and her spirits would fall, she would anticipate the daily visit with someone who really cares. Drained, beyond exhaustion, she cried each day using almost the same words: You don’t understand what this means! She could hardly wait to rejoin the volunteer force with a heightened concept of what she is giving to others.lk ok to use IMG-20160616-WA0090

Giving is the name of the game. Volunteers search out ways to give. During one visit, a patient asked the hospital staff for a specific juice. Apologetically, they answered that it was unavailable. The adult in her understood that she would have to forego her favorite juice. But the child in her, so vociferous lately as she faced serious illness, felt saddened. She was fortunate that a Lottie’s Kitchen volunteer was in the room at the time. The volunteer leaped at the opportunity and drove to the nearest supermarket, braved the long lines and, juice in hand, triumphantly made her way back to the patient’s room.

Lottie’s Kitchen volunteers. They are everywhere. In each hospital. In the emergency rooms, in all the wards. How? It’s because of all of you. This year Lottie’s Kitchen Event will be held on July 7 at the home of Frieda & Joey Franco in Deal NJ in loving memory of Manny Hamowy & Robin Ashkenazie. lk ok to use IMG-20160616-WA0069

See you there!

For further info: 718 853 8400     www.ezermizion.org     5225 New Utrecht Ave, Bk NY 11219

 

 

 

No Salary Is the Best Salary

March 23, 2016

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You may have sat next to her on the bus to Yerushalayim. Her name is Esther and she looks like any other typical frum woman. She doesn’t wear a sign but she is one of those special Ezer Mizion women who glow with the satisfaction that comes with giving. She already changed busses and has been traveling for almost two hours with another arduous trip to look forward to at the end of the day. Maybe she’ll sleep a bit on the way home. She’s going to be tired. Very tired. She will be spending several hours at the home of a mother who has given birth to multiples. What will she be doing there? It’s different each time. Some mothers can’t face the ever-growing pile of laundry and apologetically ask her if she can tackle it. It means the world to their emotional well-being to know that every sock in its right place. Other mothers don’t mind the clutter but want their family to come home to the aroma of a delicious supper and ask her to prepare a vegetable soup to use for the whole week. And still others, eyes drooping from tiredness, hand her one of the babies to rock as their heads blissfully touch the pillow, a rarity these days. Esther is happy to help no matter what she’s asked to do. Helping others is the gas that keeps her going. She, like most Ezer Mizion volunteers, thrive on giving. There is no salary, no dinner given in her honor, no reward points for hours logged. Yet, an Ezer Mizion volunteer canceling a commitment almost never happens. Why? What’s keep them going? Why don’t they take a day off every so often? Esther answers for all of them: “Why would I give up something that brings me such joy just to have a relaxed day at home?!”
Many have school-age children and feel that having Mommy volunteer is the best education they can give their kids. Of course, they make sure they are home when their kids need them. “My kids know that during ‘rush hour’ I am not available to answer the phone but if an Ezer Mizion coordinator calls, they call me to the phone. It gives them a sense of values without my ever saying a word on the importance of chessed.
No salary can compare to the reward of giving. Chani is a case in point. She works full time and pr moneyspends her day off doing volunteer work. Part of the day is feeding lunch to an elderly lady. Strange, isn’t it that when a toddler dribbles, spits out a spoonful that looks larger than what went in, splatters Mommy’s outfit with mashed peaches and takes over an hour to finish a meal—it’s adorable. But when his elderly counterpart does the same, it’s, well…not adorable. Chani has the patience to do this every week as do other volunteers who take the days that she is at work. However, there are many meals that the patient misses due to no one being available to spend the time and emotional energy feeding her. The patient’s family had what they considered an obvious solution. They would offer to pay Chani and perhaps she would come at other times. They understood that they cannot ask her to put in more volunteer hours but for pay? Of course, she’d agree. They didn’t get it. Money? No amount of money would be enough to pay for such an hour. But knowing that she was helping a helpless Jew —that was the salary that put a bounce in her step as she walked down the corridor toward the communal dining room and “her” patient.
Ezer Mizion…providing help to those who need and satisfaction to those who give.
For further info: 5225 New Utrecht Ave, Bk, NY 11219 718 853 8400 http://www.ezermizion .o