Operation “Social Vaccination”
Twelfth grade students at Derech Avot High School in Efrat raised NIS 50,000 to prepare and distribute 1,000 food baskets to the elderly, Holocaust survivors and needy families in advance of Purim.
Arutz 7, 19 February, 2021
From their very first day at a religious high school, all students dream of Purim in the 12th grade – the pinnacle of all social events in their school years. These include the famous “coronation” of the Purim “king” and the pre-Purim fair. However, the Covid-19 virus has created a new reality that prevents gatherings and does not allow for the standard events to take place in their traditional format. And at the same time, the number of needy people has risen in the past year because of the economic crisis, and many elderly people have been suffering from loneliness and difficulty in maintaining their regular lifestyle due to the restrictions.
During the vaccination campaign, the high school seniors at Ohr Torah Stone’s Derech Avot Boys High School decided to exchange the traditional Purim events for a very impressive social initiative that they call a “social vaccination campaign”. They raised NIS 50,000 which they used to purchase, prepare, and distribute food baskets to the elderly, to Holocaust survivors and to needy families.
“The principal spoke with class representatives, including me, and asked what we were planning to do for Purim,” related Ran Merari, a 12th grade student, and one of the project’s initiators. “The idea arose to focus on a social initiative, because the traditional Purim events were being scaled down anyway due to the virus, and our teachers supported us fully,” he said.
“To do something good for someone else is the most amazing thing there is. We didn’t give up entirely on other Purim events, and we will be having some lowkey celebrations, but we decided to give all our energies to developing the food basket distribution project. Working in cooperation with the school’s teachers and administration, we managed to strike the right balance to bring good into the world.”
The initiative is being run in coordination with the SAHI (Special Hessed Unit) and Sayeret Raz organizations. Within a very short time, the students successfully raised NIS 50,000, which covers the cost of 1000 food baskets.
A group of students is currently preparing the packages, conducting negotiations with vendors and getting price quotes. Although the campaign is being led by the 12th graders, students from all grades are participating in the fund-raising, packaging, and distribution.
Shimon ben Yishai, Principal of the Derech Avot upper school: “The contents of the basket have been especially adapted to the needs of the elderly, since 800 baskets will be distributed to Holocaust survivors and senior adults in the Jerusalem area, whose addresses we received from SAHI,, which is active in the Jerusalem area. The Social Welfare department of the Efrat Council and the Sayeret Raz organization provided an additional list of 200 needy families and senior citizens in Efrat and Gush Etzion. In addition, we are also holding activities and talking to our students about performing good acts, which is doubly important at the moment,” he said.
“I am proud of our students and staff on creating this important project, and I am sure it will create a sense of pride in the school, will fill the students’ hearts with a sense of achievement, and will give rise to future charitable projects. I call on anyone who is moved by these types of value-driven initiatives to take part in the project and partner with us in doing good and educating toward values,” said Ben Yishai.