Added Pages

Monday, January 20, 2014

Chesed Mission 2014/5774: Day 6

It was another action packed day here in Israel on the Chesed Mission! A day that started at 10 AM didn't end until 11 PM and there wasn't a single minute wasted. We visited children with disabilities, packed food for the needy, thanked soldiers, and much more.
We started the day with a visit to Aleh. Aleh is a home, school, and medical facility for children with severe mental and physical disabilities. The students from Flatbush helped the children in various activities. They decorated trees, played music, and danced around with the children. Although we weren't able to directly communicate with the children, we understood that being there made a positive difference in the daily lives of the children by seeing the reactions that they could provide. Out students got out of their comfort zone and made so many children smile.
After Aleh we took a short bus ride to Pantry Packers. Pantry Packers, run by Collel Chabad, provides food for poor families all across Israel who need this food to survive. We were placed into groups of six and packaged rice for the needy in a high tech facility. We all left after a fun experience feeling good that we were able to be a part of the Pantry Packers mission of packing food for Israel's neediest.
After a nice lunch, we participated in a special program with Afikim. Afikim is an after school program for children living in poverty or coming from difficult home lives. We sat down with the young boys and girls of Afikim and did arts and crafts in honor of Tu B'Shvat. We all planted flowers and had a chance to speak with all the children. It was great to hear that these children were so excited to meet people from America who were willing to spend their own time to talk and interact with to them. It was also great to speak with the children and learn all about their interests and their school experience.
After the program with Afikim the girls and boys split up for two different activities. The girls visited Bait Cham, a home for women and girls who have run away from home due to abusive relationships or families. All the girls danced together and had a wonderful experience. The boys went to the Zion Orphanage for Boys/Beit Blumenthal. We sat around a big circle, where each Flatbush student sat next to a child from the orphanage. We first played games to get to know one another. Then we played other fun games, which included a rendition of the chicken dance. We were really able to have nice conversations with the boys and learn about their favorite things in life and what they aspire to do in the future. We then gave out gifts and the looks on the boys faces were priceless. It felt great to know that what we were doing really had a big effect on the boys.
To finish off the wonderful day we went to an army base! We partnered up with David Landau and Project Standing Together to thank the Israeli soldiers for their hard work and dedication to protecting the State of Israel. Soldiers were treated to barbecue and other goodies. Everyone, including the soldiers, was excited to be together at this huge base. Everybody was singing, socializing, and just having a good time. The commander of the base praised all of our efforts of trying to support the soldiers, while Rabbi Besser led a prayer for the welfare of the soldiers. The soldiers themselves were very surprised when they found out that there are people in America who pray and think about them every day. We then distributed warm clothing to the soldiers, which lifted up their spirits even more. It was a great way to end an amazing day! ~Sammy Dayan