In times of crisis and trauma, it’s often impossible to think straight, to logically decide the next step or course of action. Flooded with pain or fear, overwhelmed, helpless and in shock, often all anyone can do is pick up a phone and call a number he or she always thought was for other people – Achiezer’s community hotline. “When our father died, I didn’t know what to do, so I did what I do in every other situation. I just called Achiezer and burst out crying. They said not to worry, they would take care of every detail,” said one caller in a heartfelt thank you letter to the organization. On the other side of the line, 365 days a year, is a calm, comforting voice, a caring and compassionate Achiezer staff member who can link you to one of 18 departments prepared to assist with any crisis. “Achiezer is one master organization, which completely removes the burden of crisis management from the shoulders of shocked and distressed victims. We’re here for the entire community at any time, for any difficulty, large or small,” explains Achiezer Founder and President, Boruch Ber Bender. Indeed, Achiezer is a household name, whose number everyone knows – yet we never think it can happen to us. That’s the meaning behind Achiezer’s latest “Me and I” campaign. The campaign tagline Many people, My story reveals that though Achiezer is about many people – answering 80,000 calls a year, I could be one of those calls. I matter to Achiezer, and they will go to any length to assist me. At 14 years old, Achiezer is asking the community to support its work, not only for the sake of other people in need – as beautiful as this is – but because it’s there for me, and I matter.
“We receive calls on a daily – and nightly – basis from people experiencing medical and mental-health related emergencies, death-related emergencies often involving kavod hameis and missing persons,” says Chief of Operations, Shalom Jaroslawicz. “Callers often need immediate access to medical experts, mental health experts or chevra kadisha/bereavement arrangements. We also collaborate with other community resources and organizations during community emergencies or natural disasters. Thanks to our 18 staff members and hundreds of volunteers. There’s no time when you can’t reach Achiezer. It’s absolutely extraordinary.”
Achiezer also offers financial education through its Westwood Financial Management program, home repair services for those unexpected and expensive emergencies, fully stocked hospital respite rooms at several hospitals, homemade meals to designated hospitals upon families’ requests, medical insurance enrollment and even specialty medical equipment. Their legal network can assist with pro-bono or reduced fee legal advice. Achiezer is a veritable chesed empire – that asks for donations only once a year.
Today November 14 to 15, when they aim to raise $2.3 million. Donations are open at charidy.com/achiezer and doubled throughout the campaign thanks to generous supporters.