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Monday, January 25, 2016

Chesed Mission 2016/5776: Day 6

We started off our day today by going to Aleh. Aleh is an organization that cares for children with severe mental and physical disabilities and helps them reach their highest potential. Here, we interacted with the children in their classrooms. We did activities with them for Tu B'Shvat like planting a tree in small pots and decorating the pots. Although most of the children couldn't communicate with their words, their smiles were worth a thousand words. Aleh made us all realize how thankful we should be for our health and that although they're different from us, they deserve to be treated the same way as any other person is treated.
Next we went to an organization called Special in Uniform. Special in Uniform is a unit in the army that takes in adults with certain disabilities who wouldn't have been able to go in to the army like any other Israeli teenager because of their disability. The director of the program explained to us how he came up with this whole idea and then we talked and took pictures with the soldiers. All the soldiers proudly explained what they did in the army. We then distributed gifts to all the soldiers and then they gave us gifts which were a military dog tag  and hat that said Special in Uniform on it. Before saying our goodbyes we went out to the front and planted a tree with the soldiers. It was amazing how despite these soldiers' disabilities they were able to contribute to the army and feel so proud about it. 
After this we went to Afikim which is an organization that helps children at risk after school for a few hours. We talked to all the kids and sang songs with them. After getting to know some of them, we gave out a minion necklace and cool notebooks to each child. The children were so happy despite all that they go through at home and it made me realize how much we should all appreciate our lives and our families. 
We then went to the headquarters of the United Hatzalah of Israel. It's a group of volunteers from all religions in Israel who respond within 90 seconds to emergencies, so that they can help stabilize the patient until the ambulance arrived. They showed us all of their equipment they use on a call and showed us videos showing the importance of this organization. It was amazing to see how dedicated the volunteers who spoke were. They constantly put everything aside including their families, jobs, and even Shabbat, and go help the person who is in danger. 
Once we left we went to our last stop which was Pantry Packers. Pantry packers is an organization run by Colel Chabad, that gives families food that they cannot afford and helps more than 8,000 families a month. We all were split up in to stations where we helped package the rice that would be delivered to the food banks in Israel. It was a full day of Chesed that inspired us all. ~Grace Sutton, Class of 2017