Yad Sarah announced its opening of two new branches, which will provide a vital array of free or low-cost health and home-care support services for people of all ages, marking the latest growth point for Israel’s largest volunteer-staffed organization.

The new Yad Sarah branch in Akko will offer equipment lending, an equipment-repair workshop, emergency-alarm response, legal services and wheelchair-accessible transportation in one of Israel’s most diverse cities.

The new Yad Sarah branch in Akko, formerly an air-raid shelter. Credit: Courtesy.

Some 72 percent of Akko’s 55,000 residents are Jews, 25 percent are Muslim Arabs, and 2 percent are Christian Arabs, while almost 25 percent are new immigrants.

Located in a former air-raid shelter, the branch will expand access to social services in a socio-economically challenged area, as Akko residents previously needed to travel to Nahariya or Kiryat Motzkin to receive assistance from Yad Sarah—or missed out on the aid altogether.

Meanwhile, in Tiberias, Yad Sarah has opened its 13th hospital-based branch at Poriyah Hospital. These branches make it easier for patients and families to borrow equipment upon discharge.

The new branches in Akko and Tiberias represent the latest venues to mobilize the energy of Yad Sarah’s corps of 7,000-plus volunteers, who help provide access to medical-equipment loans, drive wheelchair-accessible vans, reach out to the homebound, advocate for the elderly, serve children with special needs and perform a wide array of other services for more than 600,000 people in Israel annually.

In yet another new development, the organization’s Kiryat Motzkin branch has moved to a nearby mall.

It is the third Yad Sarah branch situated in a commercial shopping area, with these centrally located sites offering their surrounding communities relatively easy access to social services.

“By broadening access to crucial support services in communities, hospitals and commercial centers, Yad Sarah affirms its mission to bring help and hope to the people of Israel,” said Adele Goldberg, executive director of Friends of Yad Sarah. “We are more committed than ever to serving all at-risk members of Israel’s population and ensuring that no member of Israeli society is left behind.”