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Kassam rockets on display after they fell on the town of Sderot, Israel.

Sderot Branch Under Attack

Sderot Under Attack! Yad Sarah's 100th Branch is There to Help!

With the Negev town of Sderot again under relentless bombardment by Kassam rockets from the Gaza Strip, Yad Sarah has gone into action to help the beleaguered residents. To alleviate the suffering of thousands of residents, Yad Sarah opened a branch (100th in number) in this southern development town, with the assistance of the Gottesman Foundation, in July 2003.

A team of Yad Sarah volunteers sat with the Emergency Staff of the Ministry of Social Welfare in early May to assess the needs of Sderot residents.  Together they drew up a plan of action – and pinpointed the areas that Yad Sarah would undertake to handle.  The Yad Sarah task force maintained constant contact with the Social Services Department in Sderot, responding to their every call for help. Yad Sarah focused on three main areas:

Lending Medical Equipment:  Yad Sarah undertook to deliver medical equipment to the homes of all those sick, frail or disabled people who needed it in Sderot. Furthermore, Yad Sarah promised to supply medical equipment to Sderot residents who had left the town temporarily for a new location and needed the equipment there.

YadSarahVans:  Yad Sarah made a wheelchair-bearing van available around the clock in a central Sderot location to transport sick or disabled people to medical treatments or other urgent needs anywhere in town. Transportation has also been provided for those wheelchair-bound individuals who sought to leave the city for calmer areas throughout the country.  The rest of the time the van is at the disposal of the Social Services personnel to transport necessary supplies for the residents, or for other helpful uses.

Volunteers of the Emergency Alarm Center phoned subscribers of that service and offered support, encouragement, and assistance (to those who chose to stay…).

Though the number of those needing help from Yad Sarah is not large, the volunteers reported that their very readiness to support the Social Services personnel and all the residents gave them a wonderful feeling and had a calming effect. They appreciated the empathy and caring. Moreover, Yad Sarah’s individual attention to those in need, people felt, was what is typical of Yad Sarah: warm, personal, individual care, even during off-hours of the day or night.

It is important to note that, unlike the situation in the Northern towns during the Second Lebanon War last summer, where there was a total collapse of the social services, in Sderot Yad Sarah works in conjunction with the municipal Social Services Department. The local welfare establishment sees Yad Sarah as a place to turn to and appreciates Yad Sarah’s positive response to any request. Yad Sarah also learned its lessons from the Second Lebanon War.  All Yad Sarah departments went into emergency mode at once. Yad Sarah’s front line in Sderot operates under the direction of the local branch director, backed by the team at Jerusalem headquarters – who visit Sderot regularly to assess on location the needs of the people, and to offer the necessary support.

Just a Sampling of the Cases Yad Sarah attends to:

Monday, 4 P.M.:   A group of Sderot residents arrives in the Shalom Hotel in Jerusalem.  A volunteer from the Home and Community Services Division arrives at the hotel to determine special needs.  That very same evening Yad Sarah supplies the necessary special bathtub seats to the two families needing them.
Tuesday, on the Eve of Shavuot in Sderot: A YadSarahVan follows the funeral of 37-year-old Shirel Feldman, killed by a Kassam, and offers transportation to the members of the family who have difficulty walking.
Tuesday, on the Eve of Shavuot at 1P.M. the phone rings in Yad Sarah House in Jerusalem.  A Social Services worker is calling from Sderot concerning a disabled man, who had been scheduled to move out of Sderot on Thursday, but who has now decided to leave before the advent of Shavuot holiday.  They requested that a hospital bed be sent to Beit Hagalgalim, a Jerusalem facility for severely disabled younger people.  Yad Sarah volunteers opened the central storeroom and sent the requested hospital bed for the patient before the onset of the holiday.
Thursday, at 12 noon: A 90-year old woman subscriber from Sderot calls the Emergency Alarm Response Center asking them to send her a doctor.  In response to the volunteer’s questions, she says she is all alone, and does not know where to turn for help.  Yad Sarah arranges for her free hospitality in an upscale Senior Citizens home in Jerusalem.
Yad Sarah is about “People Helping People”, help us help them.  Tax receipts are written for every donation and all funds are 100% directed to the end user.  Yad Sarah Thanks You and our Patients thank you. Thank you for all your support, both financial and the giving of your time. G-d Bless.

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