By Miriam Lipshitz
Well, to be accurate, I didn’t give away other people’s money but I recently had the privilege and pleasure of phoning South African Olim in need to tell them that they were the recipients of someone else’s generosity and would receive an unexpected gift for Rosh Hashana.
Telfed reached out to our community in Israel, inviting them to donate their NIS750 government Corona grant to assist those in need. The response was staggering: in three weeks, over NIS100 000 was donated by our unbelievable community. WOW!
To back track a little, in July this year, the Israeli government approved a NIS6.5 billion economic stimulus plan. Each citizen over the age of 18 received a NIS750 grant. Parents with children under 18 years received an additional NIS500 per child. Spending the money is central to the effectiveness of this ‘helicopter money’ aid package.
Over the two days during which I phoned the recipients of the donations, I was humbled. Their joy was tangible; they cried and I had tears in my eyes with them. Your gift to them, before Rosh Hashanah, now meant that they could buy their children a present for the chag, or that they could add something special to an otherwise mundane holiday meal. One charming lady laughed and laughed saying that now she could finally buy herself a much-needed pair of shoes; others were so overwhelmed that they were speechless.
I made new friends over those two days. Those phone calls, kick started by communal generosity, opened a floodgate for many of those to whom I spoke. Beyond their very genuine appreciation of everything which Telfed and our community is able to do for them, they needed to talk. And we talked and got to know each other. I now have invitations to tea and homemade cake from Carmiel to Eilat and I look forward in time to meeting these new friends when I drop in for tea!
Although it is a platitude, easily touted to potential donors, that it is better to give than to receive, my recent experience reinforced just how true this is. I was elated at being able to brighten someone else’s day and chag.
Kathy Calvin, CEO and President of the United Nations Foundation said: “Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.” That NIS750 grant donation made a difference and lifted a weight off someone’s shoulders.
Thank you to those who support Telfed’s work, for making a difference and putting a smile on someone’s face in these strange times. And, yes, you made my day too!
Telfed provides social welfare assistance to over 400 South African Olim on a monthly basis, distributing NIS2.2 million in financial aid and food cards per year. This assistance ensures that those with a genuine need are clothed, fed and sheltered during their most difficult moments.
“This grant had me in tears of joy and relief. It is very special of you, especially since we have been on lockdown for months and it seems that we shall have to remain so for very much longer. My partner, B. has been confined to a wheelchair and oxygen 24/7 for the same period. I am doing my very best to make her life easier and to assist her as best I can. That is why your gift is so much more appreciated. I cannot thank you enough.” H.
For more information, visit www.telfed.org.il
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