It was a normal day. Just like every other Wednesday. Miriam* got the kids off to school, straightened out the house, put in a load of laundry and then left for her volunteer job delivering hot meals to families spending hours at a hospital bedside. Sometimes it’s an elderly parent who is ill, sometimes it’s a spouse or a small child. For the caretaker, the hours are lonely and filled with angst. Vital decisions have to be made and the caretakers are drained, running on empty. Their faces light up when Miriam arrives in the Ezer Mizion uniform bearing a hot, nutritious meal spiced with a warm, compassionate smile. Knowing that someone cares makes all the difference. It gives them strength to ‘be there’ for the patient, strength to deal with the myriad of logistics, strength to continue for another day.
Miriam’s deliveries went very smoothly today. There was time for a break before heading home to meet her son’s bus. She headed to the hospital cafeteria to purchase a cool, refreshing drink. As she approached the cash register to pay, she was told by a smiling clerk that her drink was already paid for.
“Huh? What do you mean? I didn’t pay yet.”
“No but that man over there paid for it.”
Completely puzzled, Miriam turned to the man at the nearby table. “Thank you but do you mind telling me why you paid for my drink?”
“I see by your uniform that you are from Ezer Mizion. My family and I have been receiving Ezer Mizion meals for weeks. You have no idea what the meals and warm words of sympathy from your team mean to us. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to express our appreciation and give back a little bit…”
Miriam smiled at him and wished him well. Then she walked, no, not walked – she floated – towards her car. Appreciation can do that to you. Even before she turned on the ignition, she sent an email to her fellow Ezer Mizion volunteers so that they, too, will fully understand what it is they do each week.
Her story will be added to the many other stories like the time a group of people at a hospital emergency room, including a maintenance man working nearby, clapped and clapped as slightly embarrassed volunteer approached. And the story of the man who had just given a generous donation the night before and then found himself in the hospital caring for his young son, now the recipient of the chessed he had donated for. Story after story…meal after meal…Ezer Mizion is always there when it hurts.
Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.