The year 2016 will go down in history as a challenging one economically, financially and socially for all South Africans and, inevitably, for the needy in particular. However, thanks to your recognition of and full confidence in the work we do and the humility with which we go about our business and thanks to my wonderful, dedicated Staff and Board of Directors, I can confidently look back on this year as the most productive and successful in our 21 year existence.
Our Rosh Hashanah Appeal exceeded our expectations and I am thrilled to announce that, as from January 2017, we will be a step closer to my long-standing goal of increasing the overall contents of our food parcels. Additional foods – such as proteins and essential groceries – will be added to the boxes.
This is all happening at a time when everyone seems to be “cutting down”, but Yad Aharon & Michael remains committed to playing a vital role in reducing the current nutritional insecurity which, understandably, adds tremendous stress and anxiety for our recipient families. Our mandate is simple: Everyone deserves nutritionally balanced meals each and every day.
This brings me onto the subject of our Soup Kitchen, Yad’s Soup for the Soul, described by so many of our “patrons” as an absolute G-d-send! On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I cannot get enough of the warm, fuzzy feeling in my stomach when I see the seating space full to capacity by happy and totally comfortable and grateful people and here, I need to commend our outstanding volunteers who get all the credit for providing the congenial and friendly atmosphere which undoubtedly draws our clients to come back for more!
Our in-house Supermarket’s popularity as a project – which ”fills the gap” – continues to be generously stocked by our “Chesed from the Garden of Eden” project which is expertly managed by our Marketing and Projects Manager, Jody Eberlin who has developed an enviable relationship with each and every participating Jewish School. Thank you, parents and children, for enabling us to stretch further in ensuring that our families always have food on their tables.
Whilst on the subject of our projects, I would do Silveray, Waltons and BSC / Treeline Stationers a disservice if I didn’t publicly acknowledge their phenomenal contribution towards our annual Stationery Drive, the only project under our umbrella which is not food-related, but which our parents increasingly rely on for their peace of mind. This year, the initiative has become all the more meaningful in that, with the sudden and untimely passing of Allan Karp, I decided to rename the project The Allan Karp Stationery Drive as a legacy to a man who was an icon in the field of education and who undisputedly assisted 100s, if not 1000s of us to excel in English and History over a 30-year illustrious career. The spirit of compassion, sincerity and gratitude which underpins our unique brand of chesed makes Yad an ideal organization to honor individuals who touched the very core of the community in their lifetimes and to celebrate their invaluable contributions.
This “tradition” starts right at the top, with Rabbi Aharon Pfeuffer (zt”l) and Michael Zive (z”l) and all our projects have been named after individuals who had a meaningful association with Yad’s cause in one way or another. But it goes further than that. We had the formal inauguration of our renovated premises last month and our benefactors sponsored each section of the renovation in the name of a departed loved one, thereby making our Bayit a place of love, celebration and upliftment.
For most of us, December ushers a welcome respite from our daily routine and we look forward to a much-needed break. The flip side of the coin is that this is a time of the year which, for most of our families, is synonymous with neediness, loneliness, anxiety and depression. For this reason, we remain open until 22 December and re-open on 16 January. However, I am on call should anyone need food and, as I’ve done in previous years, we organize a special distribution in the middle of the holidays for our recipient families who wouldn’t manage without interim assistance. My fantastic staff who will be in town at that time have already pledged their assistance and we will round up some volunteers if necessary. One of the many home-truths about Yaddies is that hunger never takes a break but, more than that, the holiday atmosphere lends itself to eating more!
On behalf of the Board of Directors, the Staff and our grateful clients, I wish you a happy, safe and relaxing vacation whether you will be spending it at home or away and may we all come back refreshed and ready for a prosperous and successful 2017!
Alice Friedman, Managing Director