Rabbi Kalman Samuels, Founder and President of the Shalva Center, a Jerusalem-based program that provides numerous services, daycare activities, and extra-curricular programs for thousands of special needs children and their families, said that the coming week would prove "crucial for the present and future of the organization."

He said Shalva had provided daycare facilities for special needs children over the last 30 years but that due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the center was closed over the six-week lockdown period.

Rabbi Samuels said that since the world of philanthropy had changed dramatically and wealthy donors were no longer able to give as they had before, Shalva had, for the first time, opened a crowdfunding campaign. He turned to anyone willing to help, "with the hopes that your donations will add up to a sizable amount which will allow us to return our programs to full capacity which we need so desperately."

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Samuels said that for families with severely-disabled children, the COVID-19 period has been an "impossible situation," citing an example of a large family with an autistic child being pent up at home with no way out.

He said these were situations "beyond our understanding" and recalled how Shalva staff and volunteers assisted families in need when no one else was in a position to help "on ZOOM and smartphone, trying to keep them engaged from early morning to late evening."

Rabbi Samuels said Shalva understood that "small donations can add up to a very large amount if there are enough of them, and voiced his optimism regarding the upcoming campaign, offering a piece of good news.

Samuels announced that every donation will be doubled by a board member "in recognition of the public's response to our campaign." He said he hoped people's generous donations would allow the organization to return to full operation mode in the near future.

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