Hooray, Chanukah! It’s finally here and at this time of year, which is the darkest, with the fewest daylight hours, it’s especially welcome. There’s really nothing like Chanukah-the way the unique light of the menorah permeates the darkness, how the celebration of miracles adds excitement to the air, how all the elements of the holiday just have a way of warming up every one of its eight nights.
Light, celebration and warmth are necessities, especially now, due to all the challenges 2020 has brought. The level of poverty has always been high in Israel despite it being the innovative “start up nation”. But with the arrival of COVID 19, which has caused the worst economic crisis in the history of the country, according to Latet 422,000 new Israeli households found themselves in financial hardship this year.
With that in mind, here are eight ways you can bring real relief this Chanukah to families who are truly struggling.
1. Provide warmth for a needy family with winter coats or blankets through our Winter Warmth Campaign. These items are treasured by parents and children alike, relieving them of the terrible feeling of always being cold-inside the home and out. Your gift will also do away with the heartbreaking choice for parents: whether to put out money to keep their children warm, or purchase a few days’ worth of groceries. Which brings us to #2:
2. Feed a hungry family. Food is expensive, especially when it’s being purchased for a house full of children. Countless families can’t afford basics like bread, milk and eggs, let alone chicken or meat. Recipients of our Food Boxes deliveries (which contain grocery staples & home products) rely on the stability and nutrition this program brings them, and your support will enable new families to receive this invaluable help, too.
3. Keep a "sinking" family afloat. With so many households newly struggling due to unemployment thanks to the pandemic, their need for support is urgent. Donations to our Corona Relief Campaign will help families cover utility bills, rent payments or groceries. They can also support small business owners who are trying to get back on their feet.
4. Comfort a grieving single mother. Chanukah, like all the holidays of the year, is altered for a needy family that is suffering the tragic loss of its father. Our Widows & Orphans Fund helps women who, despite their tragedy are working to move on, and feed, clothe and provide other basic needs (including those for holidays) for their children. Your support can make this happen.
5. Fill a hungry baby’s belly. Parents in need who receive support from our Feed A Baby Program are so grateful for it, as it enables them to feed their babies the proper amount of formula (whose cost is exorbitant for a needy family) to keep them healthy. Contributions can move a family from the waiting list onto the recipient list.
6. Be a needy family’s emergency backup. Crises don’t wait for a specific time of year, and anything from an unexpected, urgent dental procedure, a burst pipe in the home, or an eviction can further send a struggling family into dire financial straits. This can be prevented with your donations to our Emergency Fund.
7. Bring incredible simcha to couples from poor homes. Despite the ever-changing health restrictions, needy chossonim and kallos still struggle to afford wedding expenses, when celebrations are permitted to take place. The number of guests may be limited at their chuppah, but their joy is not, when your donations to our Adopt A Wedding Program enable them to walk down the aisle unburdened by the worry over debt that would otherwise await them.
8. Transform eight nights of darkness into ones of light. Our Chanukah with Yad Eliezer Program encapsulates several of the needs listed above plus additional crucial ones. Take your pick of ways in which to make a difference for the needy this Chanukah.
Make this list your Chanukah list (feel free to add onto it with any of our other vital programs) and give families the most meaningful gifts that will last long after the holiday!