Ezer Mizion, the Israel Health Support Organization, offers an extensive range of medical and social support services to help Israel’s sick, disabled, elderly and underprivileged populations. Since its founding in 1979, Ezer Mizion has grown to become one of the largest non-profit organizations in Israel, benefiting over 670,000 people every year.
Ezer Mizion was founded in 1979 by Chananya Chollak. Ezer Mizion has 58 centers in 31 cities throughout Israel, with over 16,000 volunteers and an annual budget of $100 million.
Ezer Mizion’s diverse line-up of services includes the world’s largest Jewish Bone Marrow Donor Registry and specialized programs for children with special needs, cancer patients, the elderly, and the mentally ill.
Two months after Chananya Chollak got married, his father-in-law had a stroke that paralyzed half of his body. During the long recovery process, Chananya got to know the world of hospitals quite well.
At the time Chananya’s father-in-law was in the hospital, a young girl with cancer was there as well. Her mother stayed with her all day, and her father, all night. Chananya organized eight neighbors to take shifts at the young girl’s bedside to give the weary parents some time to rest.
Chananya also noticed that dialysis patients had to come to the hospital by ambulance three times a week for treatment. He calculated that the cost of traveling back and forth to the hospital by ambulance must be exorbitant. So Chananya got hold of a large vehicle, turned it into a makeshift ambulance, and began arranging free transport to and from the hospital for medical treatments.
Involvement with the needs of sick people and their families led Chananya and his steadily-growing volunteer corps to initiate other ways to help ease the difficulties associated with illness. The Food Distribution Program, today a nationwide operation that distributes half a million meals a year, began with a few meals sent every week from the Chollak home to family members of sick people. Similarly, the Ezer Mizion Bone Marrow Donor Registry, today the largest Jewish registry in the world, originated with a grass-roots bone marrow drive to find a matching donor for a leukemia patient.
Ezer Mizion has grown into one of the largest non-profit organizations in Israel, offering a diverse array of services to benefit the sick, disabled, elderly, and underprivileged. The dynamic organization is continually looking for new ways to provide assistance and to help more people face their challenges.