Man Plans....well, you know how the rest of the saying goes…
Remember Purim? I think I can speak for most people when I say it feels like it was a really long time ago. And while we were celebrating, at the back of our minds we were all making Pesach plans-where to go, what to buy, when to start cleaning. Everyone knew about the covid 19 health crisis. The memes and jokes on social media were plentiful. Health precautions were certainly being taken, yet the atmosphere overall was one of "yihiye b'seder" (everything will be fine).
Now here we are, a mere week or so later, and we’re in a different world, scrambling to keep up (and stay sane) with all the developments and requirements that change every day. Sure, the cancellation of school was one thing. Now we’re dealing with the cancellation of pretty much everything else. Thankfully as of now, we’re being reassured that vital services are still open and available like supermarkets, most public transportation, and medical care, which is calming during this crazy time. But whenever a crisis strikes one group of people always suffers the most: the poor. And the current situation is no different. Take a few examples:
Stocking up for an emergency is a practical thing to do in times of crisis. You never know what the next few days will hold, so buying some extras brings peace of mind. But poor families are struggling to just keep families fed with basics every day. Buying more than usual is simply not possible. And with school cancelled, kids are home all day, which empties refrigerators quickly. Many impoverished kids in the Israeli school system rely on daily lunches donated from outside sources. Without school and without that help, there's no lunch.
Most low income families live in tight, often poorly ventilated spaces. If self quarantine for someone in the home is necessary, there is simply nowhere to go. This puts the whole family at risk.
With the shutdown of so many businesses, most people with low income jobs (cleaners, cashiers, waitstaff, etc.) are stuck: unable to go to work (or work from home) and lacking significant savings that can tide them over until this crisis passes. And in Israel, where most families must rely on two incomes, the widespread loss of employment, even for those with good jobs that pay moderate salaries, is creating a whole new group of families in need.
This constantly unfolding crisis is fluid, bringing with it new numbers, new protocols, new instructions all the time. There's even speculation about a total lockdown on the country (think Italy) that could be announced at any time. There’s so much unknown! But what we do know is that Yad Eliezer is working as hard as ever to continue to bring relief for Israel's poor. Even though circumstances are different than usual, our goal is not. We hope you will continue to help us help Israel's most vulnerable families, and that soon