By 5TJT staff
The Misaskim headquarters is alive with activity, just like every other day. The phones are ringing off the hook, volunteers are loading trucks with shivah house equipment while arrangements for a simchas beis hashoevah for 2,000 yesomim and almanos are being made. But today, apart from its daily operations, Misaskim is also preparing for an important campaign to raise $1.5 million on September 24, 25, and 26.
What is this campaign and why is it so important now? We spoke with founder Yankie Meyer to get some information.
5TJT: Hi, Mr. Meyer, can you tell us a little about Misaskim?
YM: We started Misaskim as a community service to help aveilim with the shivah and burial arrangements. We realized that there was a void that needed to be filled. Families would get paralyzed after they lost a loved one, people would start calling the shul or their neighbors to borrow chairs, so we jumped in and said, “Let’s be there for the aveilim.”
But we had no idea what we were walking into! Once you step into a shivah house, there’s no turning back. One family had too little space, another one had been in the hospital for weeks and the home was neglected, one family couldn’t get the niftar released, yet another one needed to be transported to a different state. Every family, every loss was a story on its own. We realized that we couldn’t have a cookie cutter service, so we trained our volunteers to step in. You see something, you do something.
5TJT: That’s incredible. So how has it changed over the last 15 years?
YM: Well as I said before, once you step in, there’s no going back. Because what happens the day after the shivah? Once the chairs are folded and the visitors stop coming, the real pain and sadness sets in. We started getting phone calls from almanos about many different things. We saw that there was yet another void that needed to be filled. That’s when we launched Project Yedid, a comprehensive program with an array of services that provide relief and support to over 2,000 yesomim and almanos yearly. We have an emergency, camp and simcha fund. In addition, we have special programs for each yom tov that brings joy and light into thousands of homes.
Who will live and who will die. Who by water, who by fire. The day of judgment is upon us. Let’s protect ourselves and our loved ones. Let’s ensure that we merit a year of life and health. Donate today! Visit WWYDNow.org Text: DONATE to 917-997-5600, Call: 917-997-5600.
5TJT: Wow. I had no idea that Misaskim did all that. So what’s the campaign about?
YM: The campaign is to help Misaskim expand. As the community grows, we need to keep growing our divisions. More locations, more volunteers, more equipment, more services. In the last year, we’ve seen a 30% increase in requests for general Misaskim services and a 50% increase for Project Yedid services! In 2018 we arranged 119 burials for meisei mitzvah. We have exceeded a budget of $3 million. At this point we need the help of the community to continue funding this vital service.
5TJT: Why the slogan “What Would You Do?”
YM: I was hoping you’d ask! We want to invite the community to understand the position that Misaskim is in. If you saw a family torn apart by tragedy, What Would You Do? If your neighbor is preparing to marry off a child but they just lost a child, What Would You Do? As a nation of rachmanim, we would all do the same. We would all roll up our sleeves and step in. That’s our campaign. Help Misaskim do what you would do!