By: Laurina Driesse

It is wonderful to know you have made a difference in someone’s life. By donating to the ICEJ’s “Giving a Future and a Hope” program, you actually can impact many lives here in Israel! 
The Christian Embassy is reaching out to many Israelis in desperate need of help due to unemployment, financial hardship or simply not having the strength to go on. One project we are supporting does home repairs for Israeli families living in poverty. 
When Yaacov, a 91-year-old Auschwitz survivor, reached out to an Israeli social welfare worker, his living conditions were utterly inhuman and the renovation team simply were not prepared for what they saw. The team of skilled workers found the walls coated with dirt, there was no shower, the doors and windows were broken, and cobwebs were everywhere. 

Yaccov lost his entire family in Auschwitz and he has lived alone his whole life. As he grew older, it became harder for him to care for himself. Not knowing help was available, he continued living in dreadful conditions. 
So, the renovation team began scrubbing and gutting Yaccov’s apartment. The repairs took a full month and included a new kitchen, bathroom and shower, water heater, flooring, and windows and doors, plus fresh paint on the walls. Not only has Yaacov received a new home, his hope and dignity are restored. 
“It is heart-breaking to see the extent of repairs needed in some of the homes” noted Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for AID and Aliyah. “The renovation team is amazing, though! They work with such kindness, in coordination with the social workers, to get the renovations done as quickly as possible.” 
Another home was repaired for a family of six living in severe poverty in a tiny two-room Jerusalem apartment. The parents had enclosed a small balcony to create a bedroom for their four children. But the room was stifling hot in summer and freezing cold in winter, the walls became moldy, and the children soon became ill. And due to the poor living conditions, inviting friends over was not possible. 

Upon hearing of this family’s situation, the renovation team began stripping the moldy walls, sanitized the apartment, and built a new dividing wall in the living room to create a proper bedroom for the children. The family now enjoys a clean living-space, and the children have a safe place to sleep and can now invite friends over after school. 
Soon, the renovation team entered another apartment of an elderly couple in Jerusalem. The wife is wheelchair bound and the husband suffers from a heart condition. They were physically unable to fix their home, which was poorly lit and had become dilapidated and hazardous, with broken and missing floor tiles increasing the risk of falling and getting injured. The renovation team began by painting the walls, which instantly brightened the apartment. They also replaced light fixtures and retiled the floors. Next, grab bars and railings were affixed to the walls. The overjoyed couple now feel safe in their home, and promptly wrote a letter of thanks stating: “You made our home into a palace.” 
Your donations to our “Giving a Future and a Hope” fund allows the ICEJ to extend compassion and aid to many Israeli families like these who are living below the poverty line.