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Feb 01 2013

Chevra Report January 2013

Checking Out Charities

2013-02aRecently I saw a “ministry” advertising that they were collecting money to do humanitarian work helping holocaust survivors in Israel. Normally I’m glad and supportive of any ministry that seeks to help the survivors who are in seriously bad shape. The problem I had was, they were advertising their ministry to be distributing clothes, money, and other support to survivors. Knowing what this involves, and the extreme limitations of their ministry, it made me wonder how they could accomplish such a feat, being that you need people on the ground to deal with customs, have people to do the actual visitation and distributions, and regularly check up on people, to care for their needs and make sure the help is actually getting to the ones who are needy. It’s possible they could do it, but I wondered how. It made me ask the question, how does a potential donor evaluate a ministry they want to support?

In the past, people just asked, what percentage of the money goes to the actual work. The reality is for ANY humanitarian work, that in this economy, the percentage changes from month to month. Any organization that denies this is lying. The reason it changes is because the cost of food and medicine overseas changes from month to month. The value of the dollar overseas also changes from month to month. Costs of wiring money and paying workers to be sure the work gets done remain a constant. We need to pay workers, because giving people a job is one way of helping them. Also, you can’t feed people by volunteer workers. Hungry people need to be fed on a regular basis. Volunteers work when they have time. If more money comes in, a higher percentage goes out. If less money comes in, a lower percentage goes out, because the cost of operating is a constant. That’s the reality.

So how can a humanitarian organization or any charity be properly evaluated? I suggest three questions that will help any donor evaluate any charity:

1. What do you do?— Ask the organization what it is they actually do; feed the poor, etc.

2. How do you do it?— An organization should explain how it is they accomplish what they are doing. An organization that cannot explain how they do what they claim to be doing should be considered suspect. Anyone can ask for funds, but they should be able to explain how they will use them.

3. How are you doing?— An organization can and should be able to tell you if they are accomplishing their goals as well as their current needs, and new opportunities they have that still need funding.

If an organization answers the above questions to your satisfaction, you should feel good about supporting them.

Chevra has been doing humanitarian work in the Former Soviet Union and Israel among the Jewish poor and elderly, since the early 1990s. We have labored very hard to do our work with very low overhead, and accomplish the most good with the funds entrusted to us. We are an underfunded charity, in that we have far more projects worthy of support than we have the ability to fund. If you are able to help us, and would like to partner with us, your giving will make a great difference to many people in Eastern Europe and Israel.

Thank you for supporting Chevra USA!

Michael Schiffman, Chevra USA


News From Afar


From Our Work in S'derot, Israel

Shalom! I want to say thank you for your gift.

We were able to pay the rent on our facility (photo 1) for the next six months and still had a bit left to help put food on the shelves for this week. We have food on the shelves for this week (thanks to you) and we will see how God provides for next week.

What I do know is with the extension of our lease for another year and the rent for the first six months paid; that leads me to believe that God has plans for the building and I have to believe that He will put something on the shelves to give out. Will our shelves ever be full like before, or will He “give us this day our daily bread”? Will it be like day of old where the Manna will be there each day for us ... We hope we never miss a week of handing out food to the 445 families we now serve.

Any help that God provides through Chevra USA will be a blessing. However He chooses to feed His children is up to Him and I, we will thank Him and praise Him for His goodness.

Again thank you for your care and concern.

From Ukraine

Hi, Michael,

This year started very well.

We have received on January 2 a donation of approximately 11,000 pairs of baby/children shoes (photos 2 and 3)with retail value of USD $350,000. Pick up/logistic costs USD $1,750 (only 5% of the value). Next week we will load the first truck for Ukraine from Holland, and we are preparing load from UK to Israel.

Thankful what the Lord had prepared.

Shabat shalom, Max

From Israel

We have found a home for this shipper owned container—it will serve one of the Netanya aid centers, who serves first of all, Holocaust survivors, but also needy people of all types in Netanya. This container will sit on an unused plot in our moshav Nitzanei Oz, and we will load the items into the container for that aid center, and the manager will come with his car to take the items whenever each week for the weekly distribution. Items that he cannot fit into his car we will bring to him in our truck from his container.

So, this is the Netanya aid container, however sitting in Nitzanei Oz because it was taking too long to get Netanya city to go through their process to place the container. The manager lives only 10 minutes from Nitzanei Oz, so I think it works out well logistically. The container plot will be for free.

So, you see, your gift container will bear much fruit. May the Lord bless you for the blessings you have given to Israel.

And More From Israel

I wanted you to know that HRIF9 is going tomorrow to Kiryat Shmona filled with wartime aid as a gift to that city. They only want to open the container in time of war. The city officials will be there to receive the container and we will photograph them. I will send you photos.

They are very appreciative of your container.

This is a great blessing you have administrated!

I will let you know the address; one day you can go to visit, maybe on the same day as the visit to the new hospital department. These are both near the northern border, but one is completely to the east and the other to the west side.



Chevra means friendship. Our goal is to  help our people in their time of need.


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