Project 'Gett Chesed'
a response to loneliness epidemic
Project 'Gett Chesed'
Loneliness is a painful, life-suppressing issue. Studies have found a link between social loneliness and increased rates of morbidity, depression, and a host of other life-threatening conditions.
Perhaps the Book of Genesis sums it up best: “It is not good for man to be alone.”
The effects are most impactful for lonely seniors. As people age, their support networks can shrink due to death or distance. Many seniors live in isolation and feel forgotten by the world around them. Physical disabilities or mobility issues can further contribute to their loneliness as they age, limiting social interaction beyond their own home.
Thankfully, many Jewish charities in Israel strive to combat loneliness and isolation in senior members of the community. Colel Chabad is one of these groups, delivering hot meals, Day Center support, and companionship to those who need it most.
The True Impact
Acts of charity for lonely elderly aren’t as common as they should be in today’s day and age. While there are plenty of excellent Jewish organizations to donate to, each with an important cause, those serving seniors serve a particularly valuable role.
This is especially true in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with its devastating human toll, the implicating virus caused a plague of loneliness worldwide.
Protecting seniors living alone meant keeping them isolated even more than before. Even those with children and grandchildren weren’t able to enjoy their companionship. Holidays were spent all alone.
Those usually embraced by their communities and families who eased the isolation found themselves in quarantine, often without the means to effectively connect with the outside world.
Even after reopening, many elderly feel left out, exhausted, and overwhelmed.
Project Gett Chesed
Colel Chabad exists to support Jews of all ages and circumstances. We aim to combat looming loneliness by providing seniors with both the tangible assistance as well as the sense of belonging that their lives so often lack.
In conjunction with Chabad Youth and Chabad on Campus, our charity organization developed a program to alleviate loneliness among Israel’s senior population. We call it Project Gett Chesed.
A hearty meal is the basis of this outreach. Colel Chabad feeds thousands of elderly, isolated, lonely men and women daily. The nutritional value of these meals allows them to get through the rest of their day safely. Gett Chesed’s programs begin before Shabbat when volunteers arrive at homes with fresh challah and tasty Shabbat meals.
The individuals who volunteer for lonely elderly initiatives like ours range in age, although Project Gett Chesed’s main recruiting focus lies on teenagers and students. We believe their youthful vigor and budding awareness of the world has the potential to brighten a senior’s day dramatically.
But food is just a pretext – with the door open, a personal relationship forms. Volunteers get to know and befriend them, introducing them to a wide array of programming and opportunities that would not have been possible without our outreach.
How Gett Chesed Makes an Impact
Colel Chabad’s four decades of experience, among other leading Israel charity organizations, bring the know-how and expertise, while Chabad Youth and Chabad on Campus bring in the people.
Together, we take on a range of initiatives to support lonely seniors, including:
Sometimes, all a person needs is company. Such is the case for many seniors we work with, who under no fault of their own have no one to lean on in their lives. Our volunteers aim to mitigate the chronic loneliness seniors face through regular check-ins and friendly discussions.
While technology leaps forward, seniors are often left behind. Our young volunteers aim to bridge intergenerational seclusion by assisting elders with the use of modern technology.
Volunteers can make special occasions and days, such as birthdays, yahrtzeits, and prominent Jewish holidays. Volunteers bring a package corresponding to each occasion – a jar of honey for Rosh Hashanah, a menorah and candles for Chanukah, Purim gifts, matzah for Passover, etc.
Listen and Learn
Age is often accompanied by a fear of being forgotten; fear that nobody will remember one’s experiences, accomplishments, values, and opinions. Volunteers give a listening ear to seniors’ life stories, look at their photographs and show interest in their artifacts and heirlooms.
Our volunteers also bring educational programming to the seniors, helping them keep up with current events and learn something new.
We organize physical activities like sports tournaments and walks, to help seniors stay active.
Our volunteers are also available to help with repairs, painting, and other handy work around lonely seniors’ homes.
Medication and Essentials
Volunteers are available to help seniors with their medication and other essential needs – picking up groceries or prescription items and providing transportation.
Israel charities like ours also offer cooking classes for seniors, teaching them how to prepare nutritious meals and snacks.
Jewish Charity at Its Most Powerful
If you’ve been searching for the best charities through which to support Israel, look no further than Colel Chabad. Our Israeli charity leads the rest with its broad agenda of fundraising, Chabad donation, Tzedakah donation, and other charitable programs.
Choosing to donate to the poor in Israel is one thing, but choosing to donate to Israel as a whole brings the act of giving to another level.
When you donate to Israeli charities like Colel Chabad, you’re not just supporting non-profit programs – you’re promoting charity for Israel at large.
Online donations are the backbone of our Chabad charity special services. We accept all forms of donations, allowing you to make one-time or recurring gifts in any amount. If you’re interested in making a donation to Colel Chabad – and helping us bring more aid and care to those in need – get started by filling out our simple form today.