I grew up in the Philadelphia. The first snow storm that I remember must have been when I was about seven. I went around the corner to my friend Hannah’s house wrapped in so much winter clothing that it partially blocked my view and made walking cumbersome, but that didn’t matter. We found a sled and a lid of a huge trash can and spent a good hour sliding down the hill behind her house. Eventually the snow had made its melted way through our clothing and we returned to Hannah’s well heated home to two steaming cups of cocoa with melted marshmallows.
Winter weather can be fun if you are well prepared. The unfortunately reality for tens of thousands of families in Israel is that they are not prepared. Homes are built with little or no insulation, heating can be expensive, and it is rare to find winter coats in good condition in the second hand clothing shops.
Shira, a single mother of three shares, “It’s always a balancing act in the winter. If I heat the apartment properly I know that when the bill comes I won’t be able to pay it and then the electricity will be cut off and we’ll be left with nothing. I try to cut corners where I can. Lately there isn’t much food in the fridge in any case, now that the weather has cooled I can just leave the milk outside the window and unplug the fridge to save on the electric bill. Then I feel I can allow us a half an hour of heating before bedtime.”
At Yad Eliezer we hear heartbreaking stories every day: about the father who had to chose between buying food and buying a winter coat for his son, about the girl who was teased at school for wearing summer clothing because no winter clothing was available to her, about the mother and baby who both got pneumonia because the family could not afford to heat their cold, damp basement apartment.
How much does a new coat cost? About $13. For $15 we can provide a warm comforter that will keep a child warm through the night in an unheated apartment. For $180 we can prevent a family from having their electricity cut off. As a community it is in our ability to keep every child in Israel warm and healthy this winter. But will we?
This week Yad Eliezer is distributing 6,873 quality winter coats to children in 35 cities throughout Israel. That’s nearly seven thousand children who will be warm on their way to school, who won’t be teased for wearing a torn or patched coat – children who will be better able to concentrate on their studies because their basic needs are met. In the coming weeks we hope to also distribute comforters and heaters. Last winter we were able to prevent nearly 100 families from having their electricity and heat cut off because they were unable to pay their bills.
We want every child in Israel be warm this winter. Will we succeed? The warmth of our hearts is the source of warmth in their homes. Please join us and donate now so that thousands of children will make it through the winter in good health, and someday reminisce about their warm winter memories.