April was an especially difficult month. The rise in unemployment wasn’t the only thing, but an oppressive atmosphere was growing in country. It was hard for people to keep calm and maintain the flame of happiness in their hearts. Volunteers from IsraValley Foundation like superheroes or angelic rescuers were sources of calmness, peace and hope for better times. Quarantine is an uneasy time for adults and children. The elderly people needed special support and protection. Children needed an example to follow. And all of this fell on the shoulders of the adult generation which children call Moms and Dads these days.
The Fund’s volunteers, leaders and transportation organizers, city administrators, all of them rallied for one thing… for a brighter future! Nothing can replace face-to-face communication, but a phone call touches the heart. Michael and Nataliya with their volunteer’s team didn’t stop their work even for a minute. And with the support of their friends, they delivered grocery bags, gift cards and holiday gifts.
Quarantine measures were loosened, the virus began to decline from the end of April, people were a little more lively and it was time for the high holidays.
April 26 is the memorial day of the Chernobyl tragedy. It’s not a holiday for many people but it doesn’t mean this day is unimportant. The heroes that saved people’s lives, relieving the consequences of these terrible events, are important to the IsraValley Foundation. Victims of the Chernobyl accident received gift cards of 50 shekels as a gift and as a token of attention.
A special event in May was the celebration of Victory Day of World War II in addition to the regular work of the Foundation. 75 years have passed since the surrender of enemy troops. But for those who witnessed those terrible events, memories live on and make the heart ache with a mixture of pain and happiness. Traditional mass marches involving veterans, their relatives, IDF soldiers and city officials were cancelled due to quarantine restrictions this year. The celebrations were held in a new format in Israel. Veterans were congratulated and given commemorative victory medals in the streets of Afula, as in many other cities in Israel. Not all the veterans were able to join the celebration, but the Fund “Support for Yezreel Valley” helped to distribute medals to their deserving hosts. A total of 30 veterans are left in Afula. And the Foundation proved not in words, but in deeds, its love, appreciation and gratitude to those thanks to whom our State of Israel exists today! Michael and Nataliya attached small gifts of sweets and flowers to the medals that came from Russia.
Michael Milevsky himself was honored by the President of the Russian Federation with the medal for “75 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War” for his contribution to society.
Families with newborn babies aren’t left without attention. About 30 babies’ clothes sets were distributed from April to June. The foundation also supported families financially to buy necessary cribs, strollers and other things, which would be difficult for families of new repatriates to supply funds from their budgets.
Quarantine measures of distancing continued in May and June, but excursions to the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea were already allowed to resume. Summer was especially welcome this year. The sun was awaited like medicine, like salvation. Trips were organized every Friday and Saturday. We were able to organize a tour of Holy Jerusalem in June. It wasn’t easy for people who found themselves in a new land to settle in, and the global COVID situation also made the situation worse. A trip to Jerusalem revived faith, hope and love for one another and for the new homeland. Love always helps overcome loneliness, alienation and rejection, bringing joy, peace and hope instead.
Our volunteers who are never left without attention from the Fund can always count on support and encouragement, while they work for the good of others. With merciful hearts these people bravely do their work, risking everything they have, but don’t stop hoping that they are under the protection of Heaven , at the barbershop, humanitarian warehouse, handing out Halichons and providing just plain fellowship and support. Warehouse and barbershop working hours are not voluntary working hours. When a new container has arrived it needs to be unloaded and unpacked before the warehouse opens. Other activities include to find those who are willing to provide financial support to those in need, organize legal assistance, relocation assistance, care assistance and more that are hidden from view.
And as always gift cards of 100 and 50 shekels are given to more than 150 people every month and almost 2,000 people in need are covered in a year. And they aren’t just people. They are people with a capital letter, heroes, example of fortitude, power and a desire to just live! People who survived the war, the Holocaust and the Chernobyl disaster…