September is a happy time in Israel as students stream back to school after their summer break. It is time to greet friends, and to share stories of all the fun they have experienced. At least it should be that way. Tragically, this year most Israeli children had tales of war, of running for bomb shelters, of rockets and the Iron Dome. School started in September with a lot of fear: parents worrying that their child might not be protected, and children suffering from post traumatic stress. Other families had an additional stressor—they didn’t have the money for new school clothes, books, supplies or the desired new backpack. In fact many families don’t have the money to provide lunch for their school-age children. Extracurricular enrichment classes are simply out of the question for these families, as is tutoring.
Imagine the heartache of knowing that you cannot provide even the most basic needs for your children; that your child may not even have lunch! The sad fact is that over 800,000 children in Israel live in poverty.
Feed a Child Program
We started the Feed a Child Program in 2005 because so many Israeli children live in poverty. By matching two sponsors to a child, we are able to provide lunch each day, all their school supplies and textbooks, a new backpack, emergency dental insurance, a gift on their birthday, participation in class outings and after-school enrichment programs. Four hundred children in 12 schools in Beit Shemesh, Karmiel, Kiryat Ekron and Jerusalem currently are blessed by their Christian sponsors.
Let me share a precious letter we received from the mother of a little girl on our program.
Hello to you wonderful and dear people,
My name is Oriana (Rina) and I am the mother of Osher that studies in the first grade. I am a single parent mother who is raising four sons and one daughter on my own. My daughter, Osher, is learning in Hadekel School and was admitted this year to the Bridges for Peace program. I want to share about the Bridges for Peace contribution to my girl and our family.
As a single parent, I work long hours and need a lot of support to raise my children, so that they will be like everyone else. To my great joy, Osher was added to your program this year. She receives daily hot lunch, attends after school lessons twice a week, she is very happy to receive your birthday present and of course the school kit equipment you gave her at the beginning of this year.
Your hot meal helps me a lot. Telling the truth, I do not always have money for really healthy food. Thanks to you, my child gets a good nutritious meal. I am relaxed and I know that she also eats protein and develops in a healthy and normal way.
To my great joy I saw my daughter opening up increasingly, more joyful and cooperating with others. I'm sure it's because of you and thanks to the school.
My daughter never attended after-school lessons. She saw other children were going to different lessons and classes. It saddened me to tell her every time we have no money for lessons, and she was crying, "Why we do not have the money?" And my heart just cried with her. Thanks to you this year she has her class that she loves very much—athletic dance class twice a week. She is so happy, every time she shows me new dances and new moves that she learned. She runs more lightly and her body movements show that she is very happy.
I want to thank you for your generous donation to my daughter. She is happier, healthier and more ready to study; learning and functioning really well. Her teacher is praising her and says she is a happy girl, good friend and that she is very pleasant. She is learning like everyone else and advancing in reading, just like everyone else!
I do not have enough words to thank you. You are her angels and mine. You are dear people who give yourself to others and others are blessed because of you. I want to add one thing: thanks to you, I started to believe in humans!
A huge thank you!!!
Oriana, Mother of Osher
More Children Need Our Help
There are many more children like Osher who need assistance. Your regular monthly contributions of US $65 (one year commitment) will put a smile on a child’s face and take the worry off an Israeli parent’s mind. Your Christian love in action will change lives. I dream of the day when thousands of children can be blessed each month through this program. Join us today and make their futures bright. If you want to contribute to the welfare of children in Israel but cannot make a monthly commitment for 12 months, please send a one time gift. Generally we use these extra gifts to provide computer labs, musical instruments, library books, playground equipment, and smart boards for classrooms. This year we are receiving requests for bomb shelters. Your gift brings hope and just might save lives!
“He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy” (Ps. 72:4).
Blessings from Israel,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO