People in Israel are suffering severe trauma due to the 4,000+ rocket attacks from Hamas last month.
Can you imagine having less than 30 seconds to run to a bomb shelter or safe room so many times, often for hours at a time?
For the GCGC June 1st to 30th we have a matching donor for the first $10,000 donated that will give us $20,000 to send for special projects in Israel. Plus we have a chance to win the $20,000 prize from Canada Helps!
Our plan is to provide much needed stress relief for children, therapists, first responders and food aid for families who really need it right now!
“I can’t tell you how special it was yesterday to meet with Esther, the therapist who was managing the hotline over the past two weeks in Sadot Negev. She has a team of therapists she leads, but the staff there told us that while they did shifts, Esther and the director really worked around the clock. You could tell that she was still on an adrenaline rush – so tired, and so talkative! She showed us the things that she put into therapeutic packages which were given to kids in shelters, but even more they are using them now in ongoing workshops in the aftermath.
There is a ton of need and requests especially now for a quick intervention following the crisis so that the children will not develop long-term emotional difficulties. So, the bags are a tremendous help – with very specific types of activities and instructions for parents on how to help their kids.
The therapeutic packages contain things like bubbles to help control breathing. A ball for throwing away troubles…a coloring book/oil based color crayons, a story book to read with the children to help them discuss feelings and to process what they’ve been through, a traffic light card to discuss emotions, and more.
When we arrived, Esther was preparing for a workshop. We had brought them little musical instruments and other toys etc. along with the bags that could be used in the workshop. In addition to the children, they are offering sessions for parents, teachers, others – to help them know how to cope and to help those that surround them. This is a very busy time for the resilience teams.
Esther told us that she just wanted to give us a hug. She was soooooo grateful – almost on the verge of tears – about it. I think that the support meant so much! Also, she shared that she went into one of the ICEJ shelters and it saved her life. I really could tell that she and her team are bearing a lot right now. Besides being in the crisis themselves and worrying about their own families/needs…they are also looking after people from all over the area.
We need to do something for the therapists as well to let them know that we are with them, thinking of them and that we care about their strength and resilience too. If they are not strong and available, it would be a very bad situation.
So, we are working on a project to create therapeutic gift bags with additional training and encouragement for the therapists to help them get through this situation too, maybe some nice creams, chocolates, coffee/tea, wine, books….some special gift items that would help them to cope.
I’m thinking that it would be great to offer small words of encouragement for them specifically from ICEJ supporters in Canada. Then we’ll put those in cards inside the gift package. Would you like to get on board with such a project? (You could add your words into the Dedication area on the donate page).
I was so touched when we spoke to the head psychologist at the Eshkol Regional Council. He has something like 13 psychologists, plus other support therapists/workers etc. He described how important it was to stay far from “the edge” themselves. He said that we are so used to giving that we don’t even know how to ask for help for ourselves. Yet, in the past few weeks, his home took a direct hit. They ran into the shelter provided by the ICEJ in their center, so many times that he can’t even count. That shelter is what made the difference in them being able to continue work from the center. He dealt with his own family and everyone else…but how nice it would be to encourage them. He even got a flat tire from shrapnel on the road and had to deal with that in the midst of rocket fire. Just imagine!
My heart goes out to First Responders like Amnon particularly since yesterday – he was the first one at the scene of the attack on the three soldiers at Netiv HaAsera (his home). He described a war scene…an impossible situation – fires all around, ammunition exploding, etc. He had to get the soldiers into the back of his truck and get them out to medical treatment – one dead, one having lost an arm/leg, and the third with shrapnel wounds but coherent… Without a doubt, they would have all died if he hadn’t been so brave. The rescue operation took six minutes. The army jeep they were in exploded into flames shortly after and was utterly destroyed. He must have PTSD just from this, though he was very calm and tough when telling us about it. Saying only, “we’ve been through worse…” Could we add them to our project also?
Finally with extra funds in June we could provide some basic Food Relief for Families.
Many people were out of work over the past few weeks. Businesses lost money…others lost jobs. Food for families/elderly who are living close to the line would be such a great help. With these funds we could create food packages or purchase gift cards/coupons according to needs in different situations”.
Thank you so much for your prayerful consideration on these four different areas, we are blessed that every donation up to a total of $10,000 will be matched and that every dollar donated gives us one chance to win $20,000 from the Great Canadian Giving Challenge!