Chaverim of Los Angeles launched last September and in less than nine months of operation has already helped over 500 people. Chaverim’s mission was and is to “bring coordination and organization via a network of skilled individuals that are ready and willing to assist and volunteer in the time of need.”
Chaverim was originally started in Brooklyn, New York in 2001. Today, there are over two dozen cities that have a Chaverim chapter. Although the mission of most Chaverim organizations in the United States remains mostly the same, each branch is independently run.
CHAVERIM went live on September 1, 2011. Chaverim’s has three levels of response. Emergency, Non-Emergency, and Missing Person Searches.
Emergency Response: Someone locked or stuck inside of a car or room of the house.
Chaverim members are equipped and trained with sophisticated equipment in order to gain entry to a vehicle or a home within seconds.
Non-Emergency Response: Among the variety of auto related problems, the most common are: jump-starts, gas outages, flat tire, and keys-locked-in-the-car (auto lockout). Chaverim is also equipped to gain entry into a home when the keys are locked in the house.
Missing Person Searches: A critical facet Chaverim has embarked upon is “assisting in a missing persons search”. Hatzolah of Los Angeles remains the designated community resource when it comes to a missing person. On a number of occasions, Hatzolah and Chaverim have teamed up on a missing person incident. Most recently, on March 11, 2012 Hatzolah was contacted regarding a missing community member. Hatzolah contacted Chaverim and the two organizations worked hand in hand as a “unified command”. Chaverim sent several volunteers to search designated areas. Additionally, Chaverim resources spread the word to the community for the immediate need of community volunteers. Chaverim was able to round up dozens of volunteers in a short time. The subject went missing on a Friday morning. Ultimately, it was due to the collaborative effort that the missing person’s car was found on Sunday night after he was lost and disoriented due to a head injury. The victim’s life was spared as a direct result of this collaborative effort, and of course the mercy of Hashem.
Only two days later, Chaverim Founder, Ari Friedman, received a chilling phone call from Shomrim in Brooklyn, NY.
The call was received at 6:15pm on March 13, 2012. The caller stated that his family member was in immediate danger. She had gone unconscious either during a phone call or shortly thereafter. The family member was unable to locate the subject. The police were called and they were able to “ping” a cell phone location to within 800 meters, (approximately 1/2 a mile radius). It was too large of an area for the police to investigate. Chaverim was in immediate contact with Hatzolah.
Chaverim and Hatzolah once again setup a joint command. LA County Sheriff insiders were called and volunteers from Chaverim’s “Missing Person Search Group” were called up. Hatzolah brought their Mobile Command Center RV as well as their disaster Supply Truck which was used to generate light at the “command post”. Over two dozen Hatzolah and Chaverim members/volunteers began searching assigned grids. At approximately 11pm, the subject’s car was located. The unified command immediately notified the police. They responded within a few minutes. The local Fire Department arrived as well. Shortly thereafter the subject was found in the motel room where the car was parked. She was alive but in serious condition. Again, Chaverim and Hatzolah saved this persons life.