Chaverim of Queens, founded in memory of Mr. Jack Friedman a”h, started in January 2008 and now has over 60 volunteers who have responded to thousands of calls for help and has lived up to its namesake as an established and reliable organization attentive to the needs of the Community. The acts of chesed that the volunteers of this organization do on a daily basis, does not go unnoticed by those who have benefited from the assistance provided.
In addition to the regular year round services provided, Chaverim of Queens made a name for itself when it established the Purim “Don’t Drink and Drive campaign” which pioneered Purim of 2009.
We are unfortunately aware of the amount of drinking that takes place within our communities on Purim. Anyone you speak to can tell you of someone they know, or a story they heard of that involved some type of incident related to “out-of-control” drinking on Purim.While it is almost impossible to prevent people from partaking in excessive drinking there are other solutions to keep our community safe and responsible.
The Chaverim of Queens Purim program was founded to prevent the likelihood that someone will be tempted to drive while under the influence on this festive day. A special hotline number was established to prevent those who may be unfit to drive by offering those individuals a sober volunteer driver to get them home safely when no other driver is available.
In the past few years, the program was met with tremendous success and even included individuals from the community who volunteered just for the Purim program even though they were not established members of Chaverim. One of the volunteers even drove someone from Queens all the way to his home in Brooklyn to make sure they got there safely.
Chaverim of Queens has once again stepped up to the plate and is offering the unique service again this Purim.
“The time and effort to put this program together is well worth it so that we as well as every parent, wife, and friend know that the people they care about will have a safe night and won’t be in a position to make any mistakes” said Chaverim coordinator AvigdorCyperstein. “The Purim hot line number should be publicized and shared with as many people as possible so if needed, everyone can be assured that we are just a phone call away”.
As the program has gained fame and recognition, 3 organizations have decided to participate as sponsors this year to help promote this wonderful cause.
“Get PEYD”- which offers the highest value for airline miles and credit card points as well as discounted travel. (www.getpeyd.com)
“Jerusalem Sober House”- a sober and clean living facility for Jewish men, designed to be an essential step for the individual to return to society as a sober, stronger, healthier and productive individual. (www.JerusalemSoberHouse.com)
“Friends Helping Friends”- assisting those who struggle with substance abuse and addiction (866-343-3341)
The dispatcher number assigned for the Chaverim of Queens “Don’t Drink and Drive” Purim campaign is 347-684-1155.
You may be planning to go around to visit some friends but aren’t planning to drink, a designated driver for a group of tzedakah collectors, or participating in a group that will be collecting, the opportunity and pressure to drink is unfortunately enticing. This Purim, If you or someone you know has been drinking and is planning to get behind the wheel PLEASE call (or text) 347-684-1155to have a volunteer from the Chaverim of Queens Purim program come, pick you up and drive you to your destination, within the Queens area. The only information the dispatcher will need is the pickup and drop-off address and a callback number while all your information remains confidential.
Please save this number as you never know whose life it may save. It may just be your own.
The Organization is especially seeking additional volunteer driversthis Purim. “The beauty of this program is that it is not restricted to full time year round Chaverim volunteers. Anyone who is available for even the smallest amount of time is requested to call or email us right away and we will set them up with a temporary Chaverim unit number just for Purim” stated Rabbi AloniRussek, coordinator for Chaverim of Queens. “This is an incredible opportunity for anyone who would like to be a part of the well-established Chaverim organization or even someone who simply just wants to chip in and do some Chesed” he concluded.