“Be strong and of good courage; be not affrighted, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9 (The Israel Bible™)
When we think of Israeli soldiers, we tend to think of brave warriors fighting in the field. However, for lone soldiers (immigrants to Israel without family in the country), soldiers from dysfunctional or poverty-stricken homes or those estranged from their families, their battles are also fought for day-to-day survival.
That is where the Karmey Chesed charity organization steps in. Aryeh Weingarten, Director of Karmey Chesed, not only tirelessly helps everyone he possibly can, but gives out his personal phone number and home address in order to ensure that needy and lonely people know that someone cares and is doing their utmost to ease their troubles.
“We must help when we hear their stories,” said Weingarten to Breaking Israel News.
Recently, Karmey Chesed developed a special relationship with a group of mothers from Tel Aviv whose sons have been friends since kindergarten and now serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
During their service, these boys became aware of the personal struggles of many soldiers. They shared the sad stories of some of their comrades with their parents. These heartbreaking stories of soldiers needing basic clothing, food, furniture and appliances were the catalyst for the mothers to form a group whose goal is to help soldiers in need.
“When in the field, the IDF does what it can for the soldiers. However, away from their battalions, there are soldiers who are really destitute,” explained “Sara” to Breaking Israel News. (Sara asked to remain anonymous because she does not want to take personal credit for the great work her group is doing.) “We heard that Karmey Chesed will do all that it can to help those in need and we have found this to be absolutely true.”
Sara created a WhatsApp group for the ten mothers who wanted to help soldiers. They text information about needy soldiers through this group.
“Aryeh messages us all of the time to ask how Karmey Chesed can help and lets us know when Karmey Chesed has received a particular donation, like food staples, furniture, clothing or appliances,” continued Sara to Breaking Israel News. “We first help soldiers. But, if something arrives that is not needed by a soldier, we are also aware of numerous families who are grateful to receive a bed, couch, heater and more. Nothing goes to waste.”
There are many heartwarming stories of relief provided by Karmey Chesed to IDF soldiers. In one case, soldiers with no place to go were granted an empty caravan on a kibbutz to live in when off-duty. The mothers informed Weingarten of the situation. He jumped to the rescue by providing beds, bedding, a couch, pots and pans and a heater. In a moving turn of events, the IDF volunteered to provide the transportation for the urgently needed items.
In another instance, a recently-released soldier was about to get married. As soldiers receive only a token wage for serving, he did not have the means to set up a household. Karmey Chesed came to the rescue by providing basic appliances and furniture.
Karmey Chesed recently received this letter of gratitude from a soldier in Haifa:
My name is Yaakov. Those from the army connected us.
I want to thank you for the heater. My mother was very moved and says, “Thank God that the world has people like you in it. I don’t know you but I think you are a good person if you do things like this with your life.”
I want to say thank you for the good deeds that you do which warmed our hearts. It gives us hope that there are good people like you in Israel. I do not take for granted that a person wants to help without any benefit to themselves. I hope that the good feeling you gave us comes back to you.
I want to share some of the results of your actions. Your help has caused me to want to help others in the future. You have demonstrated that there are people who enjoy helping and do it pleasantly. When I help, I also now want to give a good feeling to the person I help.
Thank you again. Keep doing what you are doing because this is how a person should be.
“I believe that all this good happened through a miracle and Karmey Chesed,” Sara said to Breaking Israel News. “We can always count on Aryeh to help. He’s such a good person. This special opportunity to help soldiers has opened a door for people to connect one to the other in a beautiful give-and-take.”
As for Karmey Chesed, Weingarten points out the importance of helping IDF soldiers who help Israel so much. “I pray that people will spread the word about the crucial work of Karmey Chesed so that we can help all those who so desperately need. We can only help a small percentage of the people who contact us for lack of funds.”