Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Warm the Needy

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As Jameel will tell you, in Israel, Milluim in the winter is cold, Milluim in the winter is wet, but most of all, it’s cold outside.

If you’re lucky enough to be on a base in a group tent, your tent might have a kerosene heater. But, if you’re out in the field, its winter jackets, long johns, and two pairs of socks every night.

But imagine for a second this isn’t milluim. It’s Israel, it’s your home, it’s winter and it’s cold inside your house.

Thousands of Israeli families can’t afford to heat their homes in the winter. Many of them can’t afford heaters and radiators. Those that do, can’t afford to pay the electric bill that goes along with it.

In 2005, 7,200 families had their electricity cut off in the winter when they couldn’t pay the electric bill.

So instead, they sleep at night in their jackets and winter clothing.

A few years ago (in 2003), a young American Chassid (Hershel Puretz) living in Jerusalem saw a few families in this bad situation and decided to do something about it.

At first it started quite simply, he got heaters for those needy families.

He helped a few families that first year.

But then it grew larger, so he found donors and an electrical appliance store happy to help subsidize part of the cost of the heaters. Those that needed a heater could buy with pride a subsidized heater to warm their home.

Then he saw that this problem was bigger than he imagined.

He formed “
WarmTheNeedy.org”, and started helping even more poor families.

Suddenly he came across a new problem. The electric bills for running the heaters in the winter were far beyond the means of many of these families to pay.

So, he worked out a deal with the Israeli Electric Company (IEC) where he directly subsidizes the bills for these poor families. The IEC now directs cases to
WarmTheNeedy.org when the IEC thinks they need external help.

What started off as a few families, grew to over 1000 families in 2006 receiving heaters! And nearly 1500 families having their electric bill directly subsidized!

In fact, with the help of donors,
WarmTheNeedy.org has subsidized electric bills for some 2000 families to a tune of $100,000!

This organization is staffed completely by volunteers and 100% of the money goes to helping the families. It is registered 501(c)(3) in the United States.

WarmTheNeedy.org expects to help 2000 families this winter, but they need your help to keep these families warm.

Please visit their site, learn more about what they are doing, and how you can help.

And please help. It’s going to be a very cold winter this year.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael

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