50,000 boxfulls of fresh food will reach 37,000 children in 35 communities across Israel by next Tuesday. Filled with only top-quality items, these boxes will deliver the joy of yom tov to children who have not had a decent meal in weeks.
A sprawling warehouse in Jerusalem is behind this mammoth, round the clock operation to feed Israel’s hungry children.
Inside, music blares and spirits fly high as boxes fly through the assembly line. Dozens of volunteers drop top quality food items into box after box. Chicken, wine, flour and candy sail across the room.
“For young children, candies are just as important as gefilte fish,” Rabbi Shisha, founder of Tov V’Chesed emphasizes. For him, it’s not enough that starving children will enjoy delectable meals after months of going hungry. He wants to ensure that, like every other child, their yom tov will be filled with sweets, so they can enjoy true simchas yom tov.
Commandeering such a massive operation is not simple. “Some days I’m so busy ensuring that Tov V’Chesed’s children have what to eat, that I myself hardly have time to eat!” shares Rabbi Shisha with a laugh.
A truck pulls in, and everyone cheers. Volunteers make a beeline for the loading dock and start piling box after box into the truck with unremitting energy. The only thing that can beat the positive spirit in the warehouse is the supreme joy that will fill destitute homes when these boxes cross their doorsteps.
Rabbi Shisha’s telephone rings. A father of 8 is on the line, sharing his difficult situation and requesting food for his hungry children. The catch? Sukkos is less than a week away.
Last minute requests usually come from families who have been going hungry for months but were too embarrassed to reach out for help, explains Rabbi Shisha. These families struggled quietly, hoping that their situation would turn around and they would be able to manage on their own. Now, with yom tov just a few days away, they have no choice but to face their painful reality and ask for help.
Rabbi Shisha slips his phone back into his pocket and sighs. This heartbreaking phone call is number 78 in a string of calls over the last 2 days. Each caller is desperate – and Rabbi Shisha is just as desperate to help. He’s ready to work around the clock to ensure that every last child has a simchas yom tov this Sukkos – if only the funds would be there to make it possible. “Time is not an issue,” Rabbi Shisha maintains. If there would be money, they would make it work, no matter what it takes.
The hour is late, but Tov V’Chesed’s indefatigable volunteers are not ready to call it a day. Rabbi Shisha sums it up: “When starving children need you, no hour is too late!”
It’s not too late to save the families who reached out for help over the past week. Donate today to save 78 families from a hungry, miserable yom tov!