By Cheryl Wadsworth
The holidays are behind us with most of us having put away the last of our decorations and looking forward to the New Year. Unfortunately, that also means a lot of us forget the need for charities across Long Island. It’s easy to remember to donate around November and December with the many food drives, coat drives and toy drives that are in abundance.
However, these charitable organizations are in need all year-round. One such and little known charity is the Hatzilu Rescue Organization.
Hatzilu means “rescue” in Hebrew and is an organization that started in 1976 with its primary focus on assisting Jewish families, along with other poor families with referrals, financial assistance and food. Hatzilu is made up of volunteers who assess individuals and families who have fallen on hard times due to illness, loss of income and other personal situations. Rabbis, social workers and other organizations refer people to Hatzilu where they fill out paperwork and meet one-on-one with a volunteer social worker to tailor their needs personally. The main objective is to help people maintain their dignity and to let them know they are not alone.
Hatzilu survives strictly on financial donations from individuals and businesses within our communities. They also receive donations from the allocations of estates from the trustees.
Now assisting over 70 families monetarily and more than 200 families with food assistance, Hatzilu is in constant need of the generosity of the public. The food pantry is located in the South Baldwin Jewish Center. However, any nonperishable donations are to be brought to the Mid-Island Y JCC at 45 Manetto Hill Rd. in Plainview, which is open seven days a week.
Donations should be marked to the attention of Sara Shapiro L.M.S.W. who is the Adult Director at the Y and the executive director at Hatzilu. Shapiro says, “The food pantry is in desperate need of all items, but in particular canned fish as well as paper goods and toiletries.” Gift cards to local supermarkets, CVS, Walgreens, etc. are also needed. The food is delivered monthly by volunteers to homes. In addition, helpers are always needed to deliver the food and assist with the pantry. Volunteer social workers are also necessary to assess and refer people to make sure their basic needs are being met.
Hatzilu has different events and fundraisers throughout the year. “Pack it up for Purim” is held by the Tikkum Alliance of the North Shore, where they sort out and build packages which are filled with critical supplies that are delivered along with the monthly food deliveries. This year, Purim is on March 20.
Passover is April 19 through 27, and every year the Nassau County branch of the Shomrim Society, a fraternal organization for law enforcement, runs a Passover food event. Numerous food businesses from all over the county donate Kosher food for Passover. Individual donations are needed as well.
In May, Temple Beth Torah in Westbury will run a walkathon for the Hatzilu Rescue Organization. It is held in Cantiague Park in Hicksville.
You can go directly to their website at www.hatzilurescue.org to learn more and donate directly through their site or you can send a check to: Hatzilu Rescue Organization, C/O: Mid-Island Y JCC, 45 Manetto Hill Rd., Plainview, NY 11803. To volunteer to help, you can email the organization at email@example.com or contact Shapiro directly at 516-822-3288 or firstname.lastname@example.org.