With a motto of ‘Make Them Smile’, the 1.5 million dollar campaign will encourage donors to assist Tov V’Chesed and its leader, R Yaakov Eliezer Shisha with ensuring that no Israeli child goes to bed hungry
New York – This is a crucial campaign that will decide the future of Tov V’Chesed, and along with it the future of 40,000 Israeli children, Tov V’Chesed US headquarters are bustling with last-minute activity and round-the-clock efforts to ensure the success of this fundraising drive. “Bringing a smile to these kids’ faces will take more than saying cheese,” said one of the volunteers who is assisting with the campaign. “We are literally dealing with hatzalas nefashos and we can’t afford to miss our fundraising goals.”
Tov V’Chesed was founded by Rabbi Yaakov Eliezer Shisha with a mission to fight childhood poverty and assist orphaned children who are often faced with a lengthy list of unimaginable hardships. Rabbi Shisha grew up the as oldest child in a large family that suffered from tremendous poverty. Often forced to rummage through leftovers and garbage at local eateries, he vowed to himself that he will one day see to it that no Israeli child should have to share this fate.
In the years since its founding, Tov V’Chesed has taken on numerous additional responsibilities and these days the organization finds itself as one of the premier chesed organizations around the world and the leading destination for Israeli families in need. The organization has three branches, each of which have a tremendous budget and require herculean efforts to keep on offering their respective vital services.
The first branch is focused solely on food distribution. While it’s hard to fathom for many of us, there are thousands of Israeli children who face a constant threat of severe hunger and starvation. Tov V’Chesed provides lifesaving support to families in dire need of food assistance by arranging weekly distributions for single-parent households, monthly packages for families in serious distress due to an illness or other dire circumstances, and Yom Tov distributions for poor and struggling families.
A second division of Tov V’Chesed is its comprehensive orphan support program that tends to the needs of children who unfortunately lost a parent. This division was founded a few years ago when Rabbi Yaakov Eliezer noticed that in addition to their materialistic needs which are often neglected, they also suffer spiritually and emotionally without the stability of a healthy family. That’s when Rabbi Shisha joined forces with Rabbi Mayer Aker, a highly-regarded mechanech in Israel and with the blessing of leading gedolim, started Project Boneinu.
Boneinu operates its popular ‘Boneinu House’, a warm, comforting home where orphans can visit after school hours and feel at home. The children are served warm, nourishing meals, and the house is stocked with activities and books that they can enjoy at their own leisure. In this space, the kids are able to relax and rejuvenate their minds and bodies while spending time among friends who can relate to their harsh reality.
Tov V’Chesed also arranges mentors for these children. These highly qualified individuals work to replace the void left when children are missing the warmth and guidance from their parents. Whether it’s learning with them or staying in contact with their school Rebbes, the efforts of the caring and compassionate staff go a long way towards alleviating many of the issues faced by children in such a tough predicament.
The children are also treated to excursions and getaways where they can recharge in a warm environment and gain courage and confidence. Additionally, we need to mention the annual ‘Shabbas Boneinu’ arranged by Tov V’Chesed where orphaned children from all over Israel come together for a weekend of inspiration and Chizuk that leaves a tremendous impression on the hundreds of participants and leaves them inspired and ready to tackle the daily challenges in their lives.
The successes of the aforementioned Boneinu House, are matched by the ‘Benoseinu House’ where under the leadership of the esteemed Rabbi Menachem Shmuel Dachner, orphaned girls in the community are also afforded the same access to a warm and nurturing environment. A massive Shabbas Benoseinu is in the planning stages, where hundreds of girls from around Israel will have an opportunity to participate and gain inspiration, courage and strength.
Leadership at Tov V’Chesed is planning to replicate the successes of these programs in Bnei Brak and Beit Shemesh so that children in those areas can also reap the benefits of these wonderful, warm environments.
The third chapter managed by Tov V’Chesed is its Simcha Fund which assists orphaned children in planning their wedding and building a new home. For many orphaned children, the light at the end of the tunnel is the day of marriage when they have an opportunity to start a healthy, stable family of their own. The Simcha Fund is there to ensure that they can find a suitable match and get married with dignity. The fund assists with the enormous costs of the wedding night and outfitting a new home with the necessary household items and furniture. Over the last year, the Simcha Fund sponsored nearly 300 weddings and was able to place a genuine smile on the faces of these young adults who have suffered so much throughout their childhood.
While Tov V’Chesed has been growing in size and scope, management has still had to turn away countless individuals because of a lack of funds. Seeing the pain on the faces of Yidden in need and having to turn them away empty is something that gnaws at the heart of the organization’s leadership. Already overstretched and under a mountain of debt, Tov V’Chesed is incapable of meeting the growing demand.
That is why Tov V’Chesed is turning to Klal Yisroel with a desperate plea to please come to their assistance and the assistance of tens of thousands of Israeli children. Today and tomorrow, Feb 4-5, Tov V’Chesed will be running a fundraising drive online and over the phone. Chazal teach us that Hashem says in regard to supporting widows and orphans “if you bring happiness to mine, I will bring happiness to you and yours.” It is therefore fitting that the campaign has taken on a theme of ‘Making Them Smile’ which is the duty of every Jew around the world.
Donors who wish to participate can see more at Charidy.com/tovvchesed or by calling 845-517-0656.