Yad Eliezer is a charitable organization which helps solve issues relating to poverty in Israel. There is a division in Los Angeles and soon after Pesach, the Yad Eliezer ladies, gear up for the annual fundraiser. At the home of Dena Bess, a committee member, everyone is asked to bring someone new to the planning meeting and jobs are assigned, based on personal talents.
”This is a bi-costal event! There is a pre -Shavuos bake sale in Brooklyn as well as in LA,” explained Rachel Haberman, another committee member. “This is a community-wide kosher bake sale that involves orthodox Jews from different neighborhoods; Pico, the Valley, Hancock Park and elsewhere. We are not linked to any one shul or school, but we ask everyone to volunteer. The enthusiasm is overwhelming and about 150 families offer to bake!”
This year’s plans also include a schedule for volunteers to join a Baking Party. Mothers and daughters are encouraged to visit an assigned home in the weeks before the sale and baking will take place in a vibrant and fun environment. Elisheva Dorfman, the newest committee member, is pleased to see the enthusiasm, “We want lots of volunteers to join a baking party in their neighborhood.”
In order to help with everyone’s kashrut sensibility, each item is labelled with information as to who baked it, whether it was baked in a pareve, milk or meat oven and whether it is from a halav yisrael home. This year there will also be emphasis on gluten free offerings. “We have to stay on trend and it all tastes great!” said member, Sharona Bittan, and whispered, “People ask me who the best baker is but even if I know the answer, I’d never share! You just have to get there early to get the best baked goods. You can’t reserve items. We sell everything on the spot.”
“Over seven hundred thousand children in Israel live below the poverty line,” notes the first lines of the Yad Eliezer website. It was back in 1980 that the Weisel family began distributing food boxes to Israeli families to help those who have so little. The program has grown from there and Yad Eliezer now provides counseling services and financial help for a variety of needs. The demand has grown because Israeli’s have neither government food stamps nor social welfare programs that provide food to those without the money to feed themselves or their family.
Yad Eliezer’s food boxes are given to 1,600 families each week, but it is the infants who still face hunger issues because baby milk is not provided in the food packages. Without sufficient formula, babies in the poorest families are malnourished and this can even lead to brain damage. Some mothers will use the water from boiled rice water just to still their baby’s cries. Of course, many are able to nurse their infants, but others cannot produce enough milk for a variety of reasons. The situation can be dire. At the same time, charitable help can help substantially and the Los Angeles Bake Sale is an important donator, raising between $12,000 and $15,000 dollars each year. This is a meaningful contribution to the baby formula program, which costs Yad Eliezer $1 a day per baby.
If you want to see where your money goes, Yad Eliezer also invites donators to visit the warehouse in Israel to pack the food boxes that will be distributed.
To organize a baking party in your home, visit Yad Eliezer Baby Formula Bake Sale on Facebook. To learn more about the program, visit Yad Eliezer at http://www.YadEliezer.org/feedababy.