Thirty years ago we talked about coloring in the lines and learning to share. She was my oldest son’s kindergarten teacher. I met Limor recently and we reminisced about those days. Then she told me about Ezer Mizion. She is currently the coordinator for the Ashdod volunteers and wanted to know if I’d like to join. Did I?!! I had been trying to work it out for so long, since my kids began to leave the nest. Limor guided me through the bureaucracy and suddenly, I was in! Part of the Ezer Mizion Family.

Volunteers were especially needed at this time. Wounded soldiers were filling the hospitals. The corridors were filled with their families, Tense, worried, bewildered, my sons and sons-in-law are all fighting in Gaza. I know what it feels like…the dread…the panic each time there’s a knock on the door.

Just a short while ago, these parents had healthy, teenage boys, doing whatever teenage boys do. Now their child, a child no longer, had witnessed sights no adult would want to see and he, himself, lay there. Some unconscious, some in horrific pain, some coming to grips with the fact that they may never walk again and some with the knowledge that their lives may end at the age of eighteen.

I would walk from room to room dispensing hot, nutritious meals for the anguished parents at their son’s bedside. I’d offer a smile, an understanding word, some advice, some assistance.  It was gratifying work and I saw the appreciation in their tear-filled eyes.

Then I had a brilliant idea. It was winter. Cold iciness to match the frost in their hearts. I began boiling up two large pots of soup every evening. My husband I would distribute the soup to both the families and the wounded. The soup seemed to warm them through and through, down to their very soul. I acquired a new name. I became known as Ima Chana

My soups became a byword. When a wounded soldier was interviewed by the media inside the hospital, he spoke of Ezer Mizion’s tremendous contributions, and then added, “And a giant thank you to Ima Chana who delivers everything with a warm smile and bowl of her hot soups.” Ima Chana” – that’s what he called me. It warmed my heart and really touched me.

There was another soldier in the ICU. His name spread throughout the hospital. We took his name and davened for him a lot… When his condition, baruch Hashem, improved and he left that ward, I met him and told him how thrilled I was to see him alive and on his feet. Then I asked him, “Is there anything can get you?” His response: Hot blended soup. He missed the feeling of home so much… When I served him the soup, his eyes glowed and, to this day, I can’t forget his gaze. He told me that I’m like an angel

His glistening eyes made me break into tears… because I had an opportunity to give so much to another person

Why do I volunteer at Ezer Mizion? Because Ezer Mizion is not just another volunteer organization. This organization is a family. A family of endless giving, from the whole heart and with great love. I am thankful and happy for the privilege of being part of it.