Delivering packages to families in need
Delivering packages to families in need Colel Chabad

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to remain high in Israel, Colel Chabad, Israel’s longest continuously operating charitable organization, is working in tandem with the IDF Home Front Command to assist individuals and families in the most affected cities.

Currently, the virus is most heavily affecting locales with largeharedi and Arab concentrations, including Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Elad and the Druze City of Yarcha in northern Israel. It is in these areas, tagged as “red cities,” that the Colel Chabad activities are most prominent.

Colel Chabad was chosen to implement the program due to the successful infrastructure it has set up in recent years through the National Food Security Program initiative. Once the IDF and local municipalities identify families or individuals in need of support, they are assigned to a case worker who is in direct and frequent contact to determine their specific needs or requests. While on most occasions the support is in the form of food crate, fresh food deliveries, or customized debit cards that can be used for online grocery shopping, funding is also provided to allow parents to buy games, books, or other entertainment activities for children.

“Appreciating the nature of this virus and how quickly it spreads, our aim is to help keep people in their homes and off the street as much as possible. We are bringing the food to them rather than having them leave to our soup kitchens or even to the local supermarket, as well as keeping the family as entertained as possible,” explained Rabbi Mendy Blau, Colel Chabad’s Israel Director.

“The challenge of helping so many specific social needs in this crisis requires ongoing cooperation with experienced partners in the civilian and non-profit sectors,” said Colonel Itay Levy, head of the Jerusalem and Center District of the Home Front Command. “The partnership with Colel Chabad has allowed the Jerusalem and Center District of the Home Front Command to reach more homes and audiences. We will do our best to allow families to recuperate and heal in their own homes.”

“We take pride in the fact that the national distribution and support system that we have been building up for several years was able to be quickly adapted in this time of national and global crisis,” said Rabbi Sholom Duchman, Director of Colel Chabad. “Rather than building an infrastructure from scratch to care for those affected by the pandemic, this was in many ways a turnkey solution that allowed thousands of families in the hardest-hit areas to know that they were being cared for - quickly.”

Gil Rivosh, Director of Community Services Administration, said, “The Jerusalem Municipality has many years of successful partnership working with Colel Chabad in helping and supporting the residents of the city. With the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, we faced an unprecedented challenge and needed a partner with logistical capabilities, familiarity with the city, and most importantly, dedication, professionalism, and empathy. A partner who would find solutions, take on challenges and get involved for the benefit of the residents and the city, regardless of sector or neighborhood.”

With a large percentage of the beneficiaries being from the Arab sector, Colel Chabad says that the program has been a symbol of how this crisis has brought different communities together for common welfare needs.

“The reality is that what we know how to do best is to help people who need support – no matter what background - and we believe that is a strength that brings pride to all the people of Israel,” Rabbi Duchman said. “Coronavirus remains a deeply challenging time and we anticipate the needs will only expand. It’s important to recognize that amidst the pain and challenges, there is remarkable support and partnership going on at many levels and we’re honored to be a part of that effort.”

“Being in isolation with nine children at home is really challenging,” said Rivka, a mother in northern Jerusalem who because of several infected members of her family has been in quarantine for over a month. “Each package, each delivery, each indication that someone out there is thinking of us and helping us through this difficult time is both physically helpful and emotionally supportive. As a family that doesn’t usually accept food packages, we are grateful beyond belief for your kindness.”

Packages of food
Packages of food Colel Chabad