The most intensive focus of Holyland’s work is ongoing support of the needy. Entire families have been saved from starvation, family breakdown, from being crushed under the weight of problems that have become unmanageable due to lack of funds - thanks to the regular support of Holyland. Large charitable organizations do wonderful deedsת from providing orphans with eyeglasses to supplying ready meals. The huge difference between them and Holyland's support is the sums of money. Eyeglasses for a child cost about $100. Daily cooked meals for one month might cost $250. Holyland sustains families at $300-350, month by month… at times when there is no mother or father, or when the parents are troubled with a serious illness or some other problem that prevents them from being able to support the family. In circumstances like those, Holyland is the only option to keep the home from slow, agonizing, collapse. Over 1000 families receive regular financial aid in sums of about $500 a month. Is there anything nobler than that? It all adds up to half a million dollars for the needy each month!
Lone Soldier Project
There are many young, single people who came to Israel alone as immigrants and are serving in the Israel Defense Forces. There ae also Israeli soldiers who, for one reason or another, have no family to go home to.
Lone soldiers come from all over the world to serve in the IDF: from the US, Russia, Australia, France, Canada, South Africa, and Argentina. These young men and women could have studied in university or started careers in their native countries. Instead, they chose to leave the comfort of home and family and serve in the IDF.
These soldiers quickly become part of their battalions, and when they are on active duty, they have “brothers” by their side. But when their army units are on furlough, their “brothers” go home to their families, while the lone soldiers have no one waiting for them.
We offer a helping hand to these lone soldiers, while they are in the army and after they’ve completed their service, as well, when it’s time for them to find their place in civilian society.
Some lone soldiers prefer to get together and rent shared apartments. We help them to find apartments and provide them with furniture, basic appliances, heating in winter, and cooked meals, so that these young people can enjoy their free days. More than twenty apartments in Israel have been furnished with the help of contributions from our donors and a team of soldiers that has worked over many weekends to get the job done.
Holylandonline1 is committed to helping lone soldiers to complete their two- or three-year term of service without having to feel they are alone. We are now helping our newly-discharged soldiers, too, to find jobs, go back to school, or to get married and settled in homes of their own in Israel, and particularly in the city of Haifa.
Holyland offers a special course of one-time support, designed to get families out of a temporary crisis. One financial gift at the right time could save a family from spiraling down into the cycle of poverty. For example, it might be a family that just barely makes end meet. If some unusual expense suddenly comes up, and they’re forced to take out loans and repay them out of their modest monthly income, that could lead them down a slippery slope. Or maybe they were hit with some big trouble that temporarily took away their ability to work and make a living. Years of experience show that many families could actually hold out, if only a compassionate and supportive hand would appear at the right moment to prevent the crisis. Holyland is that compassionate hand. Occasionally, sums up to $300,000 are given as one-time grants, if the case warrants it. On this track too, Holyland considers each case individually, and only families that have been proven to be suitable for this track will receive the stated support. Since the establishment of Holyland, 1327 families have received one-time financial aid. After becoming stable again, many of these families have moved to the other side and joined Holyland's most enthusiastic donors.
When Holyland's case workers entered the L. family's house, after being alerted repeatedly by the neighbors, they were shocked by what they saw. They had seen all sorts of situations before, but they weren’t expecting this: The whole floor was strewn with objects of all kinds, from bits of stale food to clothes, toys, and pictures. It turned out that the mother was suffering from depression, and the father was running around looking for a cure. There wasn’t an adequate supply of food in the home, or anyone to prepare it, either. Quite quickly, the cause of the depression was discovered: There was no washing machine, and the kitchen was all black with mold. Holyland came to the rescue. The source of the mold in the kitchen was found and repaired, and basic renovations were made so the kitchen could be used again. A washing machine was purchased and delivered, and a professional cleaner was hired to scour and reorganize the house, with proper clothes and designated closet space for each of the children. From there on, the older daughter was able to keep the house in the same condition, while her mother slowly recovered and returned to full function. Without this prompt intervention, the children would have ended up being sent out of the home, the parents would have had to subsist on welfare, and the whole family would have lost any chance for a normal life.
Many families in the Holy Land live very simply, day after day, week after week. They subsist on a cheap diet and wear mostly secondhand clothes. But when holidays come, a family needs more. Every family deserves to enjoy the holidays, and that is where Holyland's food project comes in. In huge production halls, conveyor belts carry tons of good-quality products which are packed in boxes by volunteers: wine, basic foodstuffs, candles, laundry products, and toiletries, toothbrushes, household cleaning products and tools, sweets, baking extracts, coffee and tea, toilet paper– everything essential. We even add a music CD to create a festive pre-holiday atmosphere in every home. Each family receives five boxes full of goods... Finally, they have a chance to be like any other family. The boxes are delivered a few days before the holidays. Holyland makes efforts to deliver packages to families that have not received anything from another organization, to give more families the opportunity to enjoy living without constraint, at least for the holiday. Those few days of plenty, without worry about how to cover the expense, can give a family the strength to carry on through the rest of the year, when finances are tight.
We’re ready for the holiday, too!
It was quiet in the house. The children were bathed and snug in their beds, floating in dreamland, and the parents, too were now peacefully asleep. Joy and happiness visited this house that day: Holyland's boxes arrived, and the children opened them eagerly, jumping up and down with excitement. So many goodies! The parents were so relieved. All they wanted was to provide their children with the best, like any loving parent, but they had so little to give…
The lady of the house suddenly wakes up — did she just hear footsteps? She sits up. She hears a cabinet door quietly being closed. Another door. A figure in striped pajamas crosses the hall toward the bath, and in an instant she gets it: "Oh, it’s only Josh, thank God!" But what is he doing up in the middle of the night? He usually sleeps so deeply! A bit worried, she gets up to see if he’s okay. Her husband Josh stands in the bathroom, in front the storage cabinet, which was filled today with toiletries from Holyland's packages. The doors are open and he strokes his fingers over the neatly arranged products... He then closes the doors and approaches the kitchen – and she follows. He opens each and every cupboard and looks happily and proudly at the food products. A blissful smile graces his face. He returns to his bed and goes back to sleep. Half an hour later, little Sarita wakes up and goes to check whether the dream is real and hasn’t disappeared. It’s real! Everything is still here! The next day, the children all invite their friends to come over and play, and they keep finding excuses to open a cabinet or two, to show their friends! They’re ready for the holiday, too!
Lifting spirits to fight illness
Holyland extends its mission of mercy to hospital patients, too. Our aim is to lift their spirits and speed up their recovery. The medical connection between happiness and healing is well known and undisputed. All sorts of professionals - entertainers, counselors, and lecturers – are happy to volunteer some of their time to take part in Holyland’s work with the sick, knowing that they, too, will only gain from their good deed. Singers give free concerts for the patients, musicians come with their instruments and create a lively atmosphere, jugglers and magicians show their most fascinating capabilities, intellectuals, counselors, teachers – all talk to the patients with open hearts, trying to boost their faith and energy. To maximize the benefits of these special events, the logistics have to be coordinated carefully with the hospitals. Holyland invests these resources readily. Not only do these activities add a bit of joy to the lives of people confined and suffering in hospitals, but they actually help to shorten the length of the average hospital stay. Patients are able to get back to their normal lives sooner, and their families don’t have to cope without them for so long. Everyone benefits, including Holyland!
I had to see it to believe it
Z., father of a cancer patient R.L. tells his story: I used to be one of those skeptical guys: "Don't give me that nonsense," was my motto. I wouldn’t believe anything I couldn't see with my own eyes. A rational person usually examines all the facts and is only impressed by proven results. But when my son became a cancer patient, my stay at his bedside in the pediatric oncology department undermined my immense confidence in my tough intellect...
I looked skeptically at the medical clowns who occasionally visited the department. I was glad when my son laughed and forgot some of his agonies, of course. But after all, it was only a momentary relief. Or so I thought. But God taught me to think differently. I saw it with my own eyes: on days when the child was happy, the tests showed better results and the disease was in retreat; on days when he was depressed, the results were discouraging. I started desperately searching for anything that could make my son happier... and then I came across Holyland. I have always known them from the other side of the fence, the side that’s always asking for donations. But now I saw them on my side of the fence, the giving side. They organized gala events for patients and brought in singers and acrobats. My child took part in the festivities with all his heart and soul. I can hardly express my gratitude. Words cannot describe the feelings of a father whose son's life is at stake. Please, don't end up like I could have ended up. Believe from the start, and most importantly, donate – not only to save people from poverty but sometimes to save them from death, literally! Get this merit for yourselves!
Holyland, with its trademark efficiency and creativity, found a way to get thousands and thousands of beautiful clothing items to the needy for every season, and at no cost... Holyland sends a collection truck around the various quarters of French cities, with prominent signs informing the residents that any outfit in good condition which they have no use for can be kindly donated to the poor. The truck fills up to capacity, every time! Each day at the huge warehouse, nimble workers sort out the clothing unloaded the night before. Any cash found in the pockets (yes, it happens!) is delivered straight to Holyland's charity fund. New clothes are packed in bundles according to their type; old and inappropriate clothes are delivered to a ragman, who pays for them in cash, after deducting the expenses of the truck, rental, workers, and shipping costs to Holyland. After the clothes arrive in Holyland, they are organized by volunteers in our clothing store, beautifully, elegantly and with our customers’ needs in mind. Holyland does whatever is required in order to ensure that all sizes are available, with a plentiful selection to choose from. Each garment gets a price tag – not in dollars, but in points. Families in need receive credit slips, with which they can purchase a certain amount of garments, according to number the credits they have. No item is simply taken – every item reaches its destination to be used willingly and happily. And at last, the whole family can celebrate the holiday with a nice new wardrobe.
So much joy!
Being a mother of a family in need is an experience I would wish on no one. Children have desires and needs, and parents have feelings. There's nothing worse than watching your children depressed and ashamed due to deprivation. It’s very hard to see their accusing eyes and know how much they long for things you can’t give them. And so it goes, one holiday after another, one birthday after another, one year after another, barely living from hand to mouth… All our clothing was secondhand; we couldn’t even think of buying new clothes. It tore us up inside to see our children look enviously at the fashionable clothes some of their friends were wearing. Until we found Holyland's clothing sale. I received a booklet of slips and went out with my heart fluttering with excitement, promising to return with at least one item for each child. I browsed among the shelves and selected closed packages, to give the kids the good feeling of having something new from the shop. I looked for clothes that would suit them well, though sometimes, I admit, I could barely see the pattern because my eyes kept filling up with tears when I thought of how much happier my children would be. I came back home with my arms full and found my house clean and polished! The children were so impatient, so eager to express their joy, that while I was out they were tidying up and cleaning the whole house! I looked around, astonished, while they rushed to open the packages and try on their new clothes… A feeling of joy washed over the house. The kids went to bed that night with their new clothes clutched in their hands – they wouldn’t put them down! Though I thought I knew the level of their distress, apparently I never really knew... If you have donated to Holyland, you have a part in this bringing this happiness to children like mine.
Between darkness and light
In the Z. family there are four children, and three of them suffer from severe disabilities. One is hearing-impaired, the second has a serious heart condition, and the third is hyperactive, making life difficult for the whole family. The parents are overwhelmed with shuttling back and forth, dealing with doctors, filling prescriptions and administering medications, and taking the children to various therapists and tutors... With all that going on around him, the healthy child has the hardest time of all... he also needs his parents, not to mention basic physical needs. The father barely works half-time, and the mother is busy 25 hours a day trying to keep the household running. Hundreds of dollars are paid each month for medications, diagnoses, tests, and doctors. All of these are essential and critical needs. The father's salary, together with the National Insurance benefits, all run out the day they are received. The home is left with no bread, milk, eggs, or bus fare. The 600 dollars the family receives from Holyland fill that gap, enabling the family to purchase at least the basics. Holyland’s support the difference between to be or not to be, between darkness and light.