No one could have predicted the pandemonium and fear that would accompany Covid, with lockdowns, quarantine, the closures of businesses and schools, and sudden scarcity.
Yet, during the darkest of times, the Mitzvah Man Organization was like a beacon of light, reaching out and doing hesed wherever needed. The Mitzvah Man attributes the organization’s success to tremendous siyatta D’Shmaya. In the first two months of Covid, the Mitzvah Man Organization helped 800 people per week!
Calls came in from all over. Family members living in different states and countries called the Mitzvah Man regarding help for their elderly family members who were living alone, and had started to panic.
Organizations that delivered meals pre-Covid were in lockdown. Pharmacies could not deliver medications. Supermarkets were not taking phone calls.
Mitzvah Man Organization to the Rescue
The Mitzvah Man Organization is highly organized. Volunteers can sign up to visit patients in hospitals, the elderly in senior citizens homes, or individuals at home. Other volunteers cook or deliver meals. One group puts tefillin on elderly men. Drivers shuttle the injured or elderly. Others help with computer/administrative tasks.
The cooking group whips up meals in a pinch. Be it all or part of a meal, Mitzvah Man volunteers are ready to don their aprons and head to the kitchen. Messages are sent out describing the different needs and volunteers reply.
At the height of Covid, a Jewish councilman reached out to the Mitzvah Man for meal deliveries. The Mitzvah Man received calls from a food organization asking for volunteers to facilitate delivering food packages.
The group of driving volunteers is 130 members strong. Most deliveries of home-cooked meals, groceries, medicines, and medical supplies go to the elderly. Many of these recipients are Holocaust survivors living alone in apartment buildings.
Some logistics were required for pickups and deliveries. Many pickups to be delivered to the same building had different time requirements. For example, one neighbor would say, “Please don’t come until 3:00 p.m.” and another would say, “I can’t receive the meal until after 5:00 p.m.”
Many of the elderly were home by themselves, watching the news, and becoming depressed.
550 volunteers participate in the visiting group. During the lockdown, no one could make in-person visits. Instead, telephone visits became a lifeline. When a volunteer would first call, they could hear the nervousness, fear, and depression in the client’s voice. The volunteers worked hard to reassure the clients, especially by telling them to expect a friendly call every day.
One touching case involved the family of a blind woman who called the Mitzvah Man for help. The woman, in her 30s, lived alone. Her nurse was not there, and she could not function on her own. She needed meals and groceries. Arrangements were made. The client requested books be read to her. 35 volunteers responded. In addition to the physical help for meals and groceries, the client especially appreciated her readers. They helped her to escape her day-to-day worries and challenges through books. And the readers felt blessed to be helping.
Many clients needed supermarket deliveries. Coordinating this in the height of the Covid craziness was not simple. To facilitate these deliveries, the Mitzvah Man called the store owner on his cellphone. That hesed continued for months.
Nursing homes reached out to the Mitzvah Man when they ran out of masks, gowns, and hand sanitizer. In a blink, the Mitzvah man reached out to contacts in these businesses who were happy to help.
When clients’ ovens, refrigerators, and freezers broke down they feared how they would manage without these basic appliances. Lockdown made everything seem much more impossible. But, the Mitzvah Man specializes in making what seems impossible become not only possible, but taken care of. Among the Mitzvah Man volunteers there are plumbers, electricians, and handymen. When new appliances were needed, the Mitzvah Man’s contacts in the appliance business put a rush on shipping for urgently needed appliances. Arrival was two days later.
Family members were not allowed to accompany patients taken by ambulance to hospitals. How would their family members get basic items to the patient, such as clothing, seforim, and tefillin? The Mitzvah Man, of course! He arranged for family members to send a suitcase to their loved ones in the hospital, and for someone in the hospital to come out to the driver to fetch and deliver the suitcase.
Those were tough times for everyone, but in many situations, it was –
THE MITZVAH MAN ORGANIZATION TO THE RESCUE!
THE MITZVAH MAN ORGANIZATION TO THE RESCUE!