Every Wednesday, about 20 soldiers from the Haifa District of the Home Front Command show up at the Sephardic Old Age Home in Haifa, to volunteer with the senior citizens there, the IDF Website reported.
Last week, they showed up in much larger numbers – 130, to be exact – in honor of the fact that the Command is celebrating the 21st anniversary of its establishment, and also because of Good Deeds Day, declared by a nonprofit group founded by the Arison Group, which is being marked Tuesday.
The soldiers, male and female, could be seen at every corner of the home, sitting with the tenants, listening to their stories, and playing board games with them. A few female soldiers even set up a "manicure stand" for the tenants.
"This place serves between 340 and 370 tenants," Haifa District Commander, Col. Eitan Yitzchak, told IDF Website's Dana Petrov. "These are elderly people who, on one end of the spectrum, are mentally frail people who cannot function independently and need constant assistance, and on the other, elderly folks who come here from their private homes for several hours a day."
The Haifa District of the Home Front Command sees the ongoing connection with the community as an integral part of its service, in times of peace as well as war. The connection with the Sephardic Old Age Home was established as a product of this way of thinking. Besides the regular visits to the Old Age Home, the elderly residents will also visit the soldiers' base for one day, later in the year.
Col. Yitzchak said that the volunteering work enables the soldiers get to know the generation that established the state of Israel, and that the soldiers tend to see it as a positive challenge. Some of the soldiers volunteered to work with the mentally frail, he added.
While some of the soldiers were busy at the manicure stand, others brought hi-tech to the Home. "I taught one of the tenants how to open a Facebook account," smiled Cpl. Noam Gigi. "I opened a user account for him for the first time and he got very excited, We made an appointment for me to visit him at home, too, and help him enter Facebook from his home computer. He wanted to communicate with his grandchildren and he had no way of doing so. Now he can talk to them and see their photos."