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Bringing Smiles to Special Children in Times of War

Sirens blare in southern Israel, and explosions sound in the background * Handicapped children caught in the fray * One organization and fifty volunteers join forces to save them * How you can Lend a Hand to a Special Child…

 

 

 

TEL AVIV, Israel, July 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Operation Protective Edge.  Israel is under attack, its cities and towns barraged by intense rocket fire and missiles. Sirens sound day and night, suddenly, unexpectedly.  Soldiers are deployed along the border and sent into battle where they risk their lives to overcome the Gazan enemy, pinpoint rocket launching sites and discover and destroy tunnels, protecting their land and fellow citizens.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140731/132180

Still, life goes on.  With summer in full swing, parents are at work and children attend day camps or play at home, while all along sirens blare and the thunder of distant explosions resonates in the background.

Since the start of Operation Protective Edge, Lend A Hand to a Special Child opened a summer camp for special-needs children who are residents of southern Israel, which has been most significantly impacted by the dangers of war. The camp is situated in Lend A Hand's beautiful Retreat Center in Haifa and is attended by dozens of children, residents of Kiryat Malachi, Ashdod and Ashkelon. Our special-needs campers are accompanied by a full staff of fifty dedicated volunteers who remain with their charges 24 hours a day, ensuring that each child enjoys and gets the most out of his camp experience.

Since many of these precious children are unable to comprehend the urgent need to run to a secured area as soon as the wail of a siren is heard, the only viable solution, it seemed, was to either keep them confined to a secured room 24-7, a largely impossible task, or else move them from harm's way. Thus the concept of the camp was born.

Several days ago in camp, a heartwarming scene occurred when a set of special-needs twins from Kiryat Malachi celebrated their birthday, and their parents wished them a tearful "Happy birthday" on Skype, speaking from their bomb shelter at home.

Rabbi Mendy Blintzky, executive director of Lend A Hand, expresses, "Despite having emptied our coffers and stretching ourselves far beyond our budget, we're keeping the camp open and continuing to operate without change in order to ensure the safety of our precious children. Really, the government should be acting to protect the children and move them out of harm's way; but since nothing has been done to guarantee their safety, we took the children under our own wing, and we gratefully welcome any support and financial assistance."

With Operation Protective Edge persisting and no immediate end in sight, the organization launched a second initiative with the goal of bringing happiness and cheer to special-needs children who remained at home.

A special staff of workers man the Lend A Hand Simcha Smile Vans, traveling from shelter to shelter accommodating special-needs children, distributing loads of sweets and valuable gifts and even presenting a comedy show suitable for the children! The Smile Van also visits private shelters in southern Israel and has distributed tablets to special-needs children to help them overcome the boredom, tension and heavy anxiety. To assist the children, a special application was installed in the tablet to warn them to react to sirens.

To date, 200 tablets have already been distributed, but there are still another 300 children eagerly anticipating this valuable gift.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?<wbr />v=psW0NafkKV4

To view this video on YouTube, please visit:

Media Contact: Eli Mandelbaum, Eli Mandelbaum Production, 972544926888, [email protected]

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com

 

SOURCE Operation Protective Edge

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