Summer is hot and dry in Israel, with temperatures reaching close to 35 degrees Celsius (95 °F) daily, and peaking at over 40 °C (104 °F). Caring for the kids at home for the summer while both parents are at work is a normal and challenging part of everyday life in Israel. But when your child is fighting cancer, the challenges can be overwhelming for both parents and siblings, and not only during the steaming hot days of summer, but all year round.
When the central Israel town of Hadera called upon her residents to help, people understood the problem and came up with some creative ways of helping make summer just a little bit easier, and breezier, for these troubled families and their ailing children.
One hundred-and-eighty jeep owners from around the town, as well as others from neighboring towns who heard about the initiative, left their businesses, jobs and families to volunteer a few hours each day to bring some summer vacation joy to the children. They took the kids out on family fun days with off-road sightseeing tours to some of Israel’s most beautiful spots. Some of the volunteers took their own children along to teach them lessons on compassion and caring for others in need. Volunteer families contributed picnic baskets and other supplies to make sure that the children, many of whom needed to be picked up from the hospital, had a good time and came back exhausted, but with smiles on their faces.
The jeep drivers even organized an on-call system to be ready to pick up the children for hospital and doctors’ visits, to receive their cancer care, collect any medications the child might need, or for any other family emergency that might arise.
As August is already here and the summer months slowly wane – and the project being so successful – many of the volunteers are talking about how they can expand their efforts to support families with children suffering from cancer and provide assistance right through the upcoming Fall Festivals on the Jewish calendar and beyond.
How wonderful to see what a town, community or neighborhood can accomplish when people come together for the mutual benefit of all their fellow citizens. It’s kind of like a fulfillment of the promise in Psalm 133: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It’s like the dew of Mount Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion.” And that’s brings cool refreshment for kids and volunteers alike, even in Israel’s dry summer heat!