SAHI Shows Real Drive to Expand Down South
Like so many charities, SAHI started with a vision by a single person – Oded Weiss. In 1999, he came up with the idea of recruiting young local volunteers to collect and then distribute food to those who needed it. A core principle was that donations should be made anonymously, to keep the volunteers modest, and to avoid embarrassing the recipients. Weiss believed that, by helping others less fortunate themselves, the volunteers could not only alleviate poverty but also become more open to facing their own challenges. And so SAHI born, named after the Hebrew acronym for the volunteers – the Special Grace Units.
From that initial seed of an idea, SAHI has grown into a full-time organisation that has multiple groups across the country. Every week teenage volunteers collect food donated at supermarkets which they then redistribute to those in need. As well as this invaluable network of support that provides a weekly lifeline for some of the most vulnerable families in the country, the Special Grace Units also use their resources during times of heighted need – distributing water during hot summers, or warm soup during the winter. They can even become neighbourhood emergency units, for example when they assisted the Jerusalem Municipality during heavy snowstorms.
JNF UK is therefore very proud to have supported SAHI’s latest expansion, which will see the youth teams reach three new destinations: Ofakim, Netivot and Ashkelon! We funded a van for the Negev that enables the volunteers to deliver hundreds of food packages each week to families and individuals in need. Already, before Pesach, the Special Grace Units carried out the biggest regional food drive of the south to date.
It is clear that SAHI is having a huge impact, not only on those who it supports but also on the young people who are giving up their time to give back to the community. JNF UK is proud to be supporting such as a worthwhile cause. As Ohad Shaer, Regional Coordinator for the South, has said:
“SAHI for me is a great satisfaction. This is an opportunity for me to enable others to find their inner goodness without passing judgment or criticizing anyone, and to always see the good in every person.”