Rishon LeZion: SAHI – Secret Aid Society

In 2009, Avraham built a bonfire in the street which attracted teens “on the loose”. He then organized them into military style units, with dogtags and specific roles to play. The young people identify the families in need in the neighborhood and become responsible for them. Then they take food that they have collected in donations, place it in carefully packed boxes (20-30 pounds each) and deliver it unseen to them. Each unit can have as many as 30 members. Across Israel, food is being given to 300 poor families.

Teens Packing Food for the Poor

Teens Packing Food for the Poor

Avraham spoke about Hezkiah. “He came to SAHI when he was 15 with a criminal record after getting kicked out of school. With the help of SAHI and with tremendous effort on both our part as well as Hezkiah’s, he has made his way back to his studies. Today, he leads a group and has a special rapport with the boys and girls who come to SAHI, serving as a role model.”The teens are full partners in the project. They can join as young as 13, and many count the days until they are eligible. Doing good in this way changes the way they see themselves and how they are viewed by the community. They are no longer causers of mayhem. Before, if they saw a mattress in the street, they would set it on fire. Now they try to give it to someone who might need it. As a result, their lives and those of the poor are in fact being saved.

JHH is instrumental in the hiring of Avner to create new centers in the middle of Israel. He has started them in Rechovot and Petach Tikvah with plans for more in Tel Aviv and elsewhere. The hope is that one will be in the Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood of Rishon LeZion where JHH has done several projects with the Ethiopian community. They, too, need to be rescued from the streets and given hope for a better future.

Israel-SAHI2SAHI’s bracelets say in Hebrew: “the greatest thing in the world is to do good for someone else.” It is a lesson these teens are surely taking to heart.One SAHI participant said: “I used to hide so that no one could ask me for help. Now, if I see a woman lifting bags, I ask her if she needs help…now I help with all my heart. Now, when I’m walking down the street on my way to work or to friends, I look around and see the people around me.”