Volunteer EMTs take it upon themselves to raise money and renovate the house of a family in need.
Two weeks ago, on Saturday night, United Hatzalah volunteers helped a woman give birth to her 16th child in her home in Geula, Jerusalem.
Avi, who was one of the first responders at the emergency birth, said, “Once the mother and her new baby girl were taken to the maternity ward in the hospital, we realized that the house was in terrible condition. As United Hatzalah volunteers, we respond to emergencies in all different places and see quite a few houses that aren’t the cleanest or the nicest. However, after seeing this home, we were shocked that anyone could live here. Not only was it extremely dirty, but it was also falling apart. It wasn’t fit for anyone to live in, especially not a family with many children. We decided to raise money and renovate the house for them. To our delight, many people got involved and donated money for the cause.”
There were many problems with the house that made it unfit for living. There were no windows, the paint was chipping off the walls, there were no lights in the bathroom or even a door, and the beds were broken.
After a week and a half, the volunteers received enough generous donations to start work. United Hatzalah rented an apartment for the family to stay in while their house was under construction. A contractor was hired to manage the renovations, and they started right away.
Many amazing and thoughtful people from the community, in addition to the United Hatzalah volunteers, heard about the project and came to chip in with the renovations and cleaning. One man in particular, Nati Azarzar, managed to bring in a lot of donations, including beds, linens and new appliances.
Within just four days, the house was transformed. The entire house was renovated, from the bathrooms to the kitchen. They were equipped with working appliances and electricity throughout the house. The volunteers supplied the family with new furniture, including beds, a couch and storage closets. The kitchen was stocked with food. New windows were put in and the house was repainted. They even bought them new linens as well as various other necessary items such as hair brushes for the girls.
On Thursday night, right before the family returned to their home, the United Hatzalah volunteers who responded to the birth, as well as others, came to mop the floors, make the beds, and finish all the final steps of the house renovation. They cleaned thoroughly and made the house ready for the family to move back in just in time for Shabbat.
“It was a shocking sight,” said Yossi Moalem. “As we walked into the house for the first time, we became so emotional. It was hard for us to believe the conditions the family was living in. I am so proud of the work we did. Now, the house is finally a place where the family, the newborn and the recovering mother can live. I want to thank all the people who donated money and other necessities; this could not have happened without their help.”
“This project is not finished and will remain an ongoing one. The group of United Hatzalah volunteers who were involved in the initial response, and then the renovations, have taken it upon themselves to visit the family on a weekly basis to make sure that all their needs are being taken care of,” Avi said. “The volunteers continue to buy them food from the money donated, and a few have even volunteered to help with the cooking and the cleaning.”
When president and founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer heard about the story he said: “The volunteer did such an amazing thing caring for this family the way they did. This is such tremendous chesed. To those who participated, all I can say is thank you. It is a true merit to have people such as yourselves in this organization. You make me proud, and I hope that you continue doing such amazing things for others. You changed the world for the better and you cared for this family as if it’s your own.”
By Sarah Insel