With storm Barbara bringing freezing winds, rain and snow to Israel, over 200 volunteers braved the conditions to deliver portable heaters, blankets and prepared meals to 300 elderly and Holocaust survivors living in Jerusalem.
The initiative is part of Colel Chabad’s “Get Chessed” youth volunteer program, which launched in late 2021. In partnership with Chabad and Chabad on Campus, it brings together teens and university students from across the country with the continually shrinking community of Holocaust survivors and elderly living alone.
The volunteers visit with a specific person weekly, helping to distribute food packages, run errands and spend time to help ease loneliness.
“These visits provide me with a feeling of warmth and happiness,” said Chava, who lives in Jerusalem. “It’s very tough to be alone in my home, completely separated from my family. It’s so nice for me to have visitors. It makes my day.”
Founded in 1788, Colel Chabad is Israel’s longest running social services organization, providing life-preserving assistance to the needy people of Israel regardless of gender, age, marital status, ethnicity or religious observance.
The organization offers a comprehensive range of material and social services for widowed and indigent families, Holocaust survivors, elderly, immigrants and the chronically ill.
“The warmth of the heaters brings with it the physical representation of the love and care that the volunteers have for these members of the community,” said Rabbi Sholom Duchman, director of Colel Chabad. “The special relationship that develops during these weekly visits brings light and life into the loneliness. “