For many of us the restrictions due to the pandemic have not been severe, even if they have affected the rhythm of our academic or professional work. However, this global upheaval has been testing, to put it lightly, for many who go unnoticed on social media. We don’t see their pain on Instagram. They move under the radar, sometimes until it’s too late.
We would like to believe that during a world pandemic it is not just the schools and businesses that close, but also evil is put on hold. Unfortunately, in a crisis situation shaky circumstances can quickly become too tough to bear.
We thank God for organizations that made it their mission to keep an eye out for those who tend to be forgotten.
We have reached out to a few ministries in Israel, who directly assist those who are considered invisible in the society. Here is how they have been coping over the past few months.
Kite Pride has been doing everything in their might to continue helping victims of human trafficking even during the pandemic. With some government support they were able to keep their staff, and through many social media campaigns they are relentlessly raising support for persons exiting prostitution who are already in their care.
On an average day, Kite Pride makes bags and custom accessories out of broken kites and parachutes, while employing and assisting victims of human trafficking. By repurposing used materials they ensure continuous job creation for men and women exiting modern-day slavery.
But the year 2020 had very few average days. For a few months their headquarters had to remain closed.
Over the past few months Kite Pride was on the lookout for new opportunities to stay in business. They have started sewing masks that can be ordered online. Another potential revenue is a kite fixing service, which they are currently pursuing, to fill a gap on the market while broadening their sources of income. This development would help Kite Pride work towards sustainability. Presently, Kite Pride is fundraising to purchase special sewing machines and to market their new production, so their aid programs can continue.
STREAMS IN THE DESERT
Streams in the Desert did not skip a beat when Israel introduced various restrictions in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. They adjusted their programs well, but also pinpointed areas of the most urgent needs among those they assist – single mothers, orphans and youth at risk. Since most of them don’t have cars and the bus system was suspended, Streams in the Desert made it part of their ministry to supply needy families with groceries, as well as give rides to and from the supermarket.
During lockdown all children programs had to be halted, so the staff created resources for single parents, to help them look after their little ones at home.
For many of the parents this change was very challenging and overwhelming. Having a list of activities helped minimize the pressures at home. This year, instead of the annual summer camps, Streams in the Desert is preparing individual activities for kids in the region to give them a sense of normalcy.
For some, the reality of a pandemic made life extremely difficult, like for a single mother named Ruth that Streams in the Desert has been helping for years. Her daughter was involved in a car accident seven years ago which left her quadriplegic. In the current circumstances, the care facility where the daughter lives has drastically limited family visits. Since Ruth still hasn’t received insurance money after the accident, she cannot afford taking her daughter home and hire a nurse. Streams in the Desert is doing anything in their power to help the mother and daughter stay together in these challenging days.
It is a heartbreaking thought, but when the world is in turmoil women who are already considering abortion feel like it is their only choice. It takes a committed group of people and a lot of prayer to change their minds about the future of their baby.
One such group, that does their utmost to protect the unborn and support young mothers, is Be’ad Chaim.
Recently, a woman came into the Be’ad Chaim office in central Jerusalem asking for help to get an abortion. She lost her job, had zero money, and just found out she was pregnant with her third child. In desperation, she thought she didn’t have a choice. Sandy Shoshani, the director of Be’ad Chaim, told the distressed woman that they can do the exact opposite for her – they want to help her keep the baby, and supply everything the infant will need along with monthly vouchers for baby necessities for a year. The woman was so relieved that she didn’t have to have an abortion! She was no longer scared of keeping the baby.
Unsurprisingly, single parent homes in Israel have dealt with a lot more unemployment and financial issues this year.
Be’ad Chaim has been fundraising to help pay rent and outstanding bills for some, and even purchased necessary household goods like mattresses, which goes beyond their usual assistance program. Their counselors are making a lot more calls to check on those that are struggling and their mental health. For many, the uncertainty of the current circumstances continues. This summer, thanks to one their supporters, Be’ad Chaim is able to assist severely affected families with extra money for the months of July and August. But the list of those in need continues to grow.
ALL ISRAEL TOGETHER
The life of the vulnerable members of our society is challenging enough on its own. Adding a global pandemic to their daily struggles can push them over the edge. We need to be there before they reach their breaking point.
The orphan, the widow, the abused – they need us to make it through.
We are so grateful to support and partner with Kite Pride, Streams in the Desert and Be’ad Chaim. They see Israel, they want a better Israel, and they are Israel. We invite you to get to know them and stretch out your hand, too!
This article originally appeared on FIRM, July 6, 2020, and reposted with permission.