Meet The Kupa Shel Tzedaka Of Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef
The Kupa Shel Tzedaka of RBS Alef was established when Ramat Beit Shemesh was still a fledgling community, by residents who saw the need to help the financially-disadvantaged in their neighborhood. Over time, the initially modest effort evolved into the full-service organization it is today, comprised of over 300 volunteers and professionals and dozens of children, all who give of their time freely and tirelessly.
Why The Need?
There is poverty and anguish all around us in Ramat Beit Shemesh. Your best friend might not be able to pay his bills—and you would never even know! Chances are, at least one of the families in your apartment building is experiencing real financial torment and is consumed with worry about how to meet their expenses.
The turnaround on the job market, the fluctuating economy, and so many other factors conspire to wreak financial havoc on the lives of many in our community. It would be wonderful to think that all is well in this city, but outer appearances can be deceiving.
With the average wage for a man of 4,500 shekels per month and a woman of 2,000 shekels per month with an average family size of six, the financial picture for many is precarious. Even though many families consist of two working parents, poor money management or even unexpected expenses can cause a stable financial situation to quickly spiral out of control.
Furthermore, even the best-laid financial plans are subject to catastrophic repercussions when the breadwinner takes ill. Family dynamics, children with special needs, mental health issues such as depression, and a host of other challenges can also spell financial and emotional disaster. When the chips are down and the money stops coming in, what is a family to do?
Where Do We Start
Referrals of needy residents come from family members, neighbors, rabbanim, or friends. In addition, families themselves contact the Kupa, hoping against hope that we can help ease their crushing burden.
After discreet inquiries, problems are uncovered. The husband has been fired and has no job. There is no money to buy the children new winter clothing. The mother is petrified one of her neighbors will discover their plight and is resigned to staying indoors, only adding to the tension of the situation. At this rate there is no end in sight.
How We Help
The Kupa Shel Tzedaka At A Glance:
- Food Distribution
- Financial Guidance
- Monetary Assistance
- Free Loan Society
- Job Placement
- Psychological Services
- Marital Counseling
- Psychiatric Services
- Family Rehabilitation
- Educational Placement
- Business Management
- Legal Counseling
- Tax Consultation
- Subsidized Food Sales for Chagim
- Subsidized Clothing and Shoes
- Subsidized School Supplies
- and Books Sales
The Kupa Shel Tzedaka encompasses vastly more than a classic Tzedaka fund. Through concerted and well-organized efforts, we assist families imprisoned by financial crisis with a highly effective, multi-faceted approach designed to help them attain self-reliance and economic independence.
Trained Kupa case managers determine the various needs that must be met in order to help put families back on their feet again. Finances are carefully scrutinized and a tailor-made plan is created to enable each family to achieve financial stability. Expenses, earnings, and special needs are all factored in to help families build a realistic budget which yields much-needed stability in the face of overwhelming debt and fear. Depending on the case, the Kupa may provide professional debt-consolidation, monetary assistance, and basic necessities ranging from medication to food and clothing. The Keren Lev Yisroel Gemach offers interest-free loans when a loan is the best approach for an individual’s situation.
Very often there is also a need for psychological and educational counseling, as a result of the stress of their burden. If the house is in disarray due to illness or overwhelmed parents, we provide cleaning help and home management guidance. If the financial situation is precarious due to the breadwinner becoming unemployed, we offer vocational assistance and job hunting.
Even in cases where financial help is the only solution, money is distributed carefully and creatively. Let us take for example, a family who has accrued a 6,000 NIS arnona (municipal taxes) debt with the Iriya. Even if they are referred to us after their water has been cut off, they need not receive a handout of 6,000 NIS. Through our contacts in the Iriya, we will arrange for the debt to be reduced and spread out over a reasonable payment schedule (for example 12 payments of 400 NIS). The family will be asked to pay according to their means and in return the Kupa will raise the rest—in this example the family half and the Kupa half. Thus, we have transformed a staggering debt of 6,000 NIS to a manageable 200 NIS a month, and have succeeded in involving the family to share the responsibility. Throughout the year, close contact will be kept with the family to ensure they are sticking to the timetable and that they are not falling back into arrears.
No situation is unmanageable. No case is too complicated or too costly. No one is turned away!
Occasionally, a family will find itself with sudden enormous unmanageable debts (e.g. due to sudden illness, sudden bankruptcy) and larger amounts are required. No family is ever turned away due to lack of funds.
Having connections in many companies and government offices, often enables the Kupa to arrange reductions or delays of debts. Even if all connections and resources are exhausted and the only answer is to assist with a large financial aid package, the Kupa will arrange a targeted appeal and see that the funds are raised and the family is set back on their feet.
At the Kupa Shel Tzedaka, our motto is 100% Tzedaka. It’s as simple as that. Every donation we receive goes directly to helping our families.
How Do We Do It?
We have no overheads. Almost all of the services offered by the Kupa Shel Tzedaka are performed by volunteers who give freely of their time and skills to help. All other day to day running expenses are paid for through earmarked grants and advertising costs are covered by sponsorships from local businesses. The office space is donated by generous local residents, and all the furniture and computers have all been purchased through special donations. Every shekel that leaves the Kupa’s coffers is carefully considered and is utilized with maximum benefit in mind.
Dignity & Confidentiality
The Kupa works with utmost confidentiality and dignity. Even at committee meetings when decisions are made on a course of action, cases are discussed and not names. The identity of any needy person is only revealed when absolutely necessary and only to the case manager directly involved. Even when delivering food, measures are taken to protect the identity of the recipient from a volunteer driver.
Our dedicated staff is not governed by office hours.
Volunteers work all hours of the day and night to ensure that no one in our community is suffering alone.
You Can Help
Here are two ways that you can make a difference:
Become a Kupa volunteer.
Do you have a service or expertise to offer that the Kupa needs? Donate your time and talent to help your neighbors. Even children can sign up to help with Kupa activities and chessed projects.
Donate to the Kupa Shel Tzedaka.
100% of your donation goes to Tzedaka, and is used to help the poor and needy of your own city in fulfillment of the praise-worthy level of giving Tzedaka “עניי עירך קודמים” “The Poor of Your City Come First” (Yoreh Deah 251:3). Consider making a monthly pledge to the Kupa Shel Tzedaka and become a permanent partner in our sacred and uplifting work.
Sign up to our newsletter today to get updated news about the RBS A community.