When families of patients go to the hospital, there is often an overwhelming need for services which the hospital is not equipped to provide. Chesed 24/7 understands this and voluntarily steps in to fill these needs via our Chesed Hospitality Rooms. These Chesed Hospitality Rooms consist of a room or suite of rooms equipped with a refrigerator, kosher snacks, hot water and coffee, prepackaged meals, comfortable chairs or recliners, Jewish reading materials, tapes and other sources of inspiration, Shabbos food warmers and many other amenities observant individuals require. More importantly, it offers a quiet place where family members can sit, relax, and recover their emotions in a more private setting. Read More…
The Chesed Hospitality Rooms are stocked daily with freshly prepared foods: freshly baked cakes, prepackaged sandwiches, yogurts and other dairy products, ices and ice cream, juices, prepackaged meals to be warmed in a microwave. Each room has a dairy microwave as well as a meat microwave in which patients and/or their families can warm up food. There are couches to relax on while reading provided books, newspapers, magazines and other sefarim. To keep children entertained during long waiting or visiting periods, the Chesed Hospitality Rooms are stocked with numerous toys and games.
These rooms have been used as a place for formal prayer with minyanim, as well as informal prayer with tehillim groups. Frequently, the rooms are used to hold brissim so that sick or frail family members can participate and be included in the simcha. In addition, the room provides a place where distraught families can give each other strength (chizuk) and support on a daily basis.
Chesed 24/7 provides a representative at various times of the day to serve as a liaison with the hospital with regard to kosher food, room issues, medical treatment options, and hospital transfers. This advocate will help you navigate the medical system and coordinate with other organizations to ensure the patient and family members receive access to the best medical treatment possible.
Chesed 24/7 currently has rooms located in the following hospitals: Columbia University Medical Center – Milstein Hospital Pavilion, Columbia University Medical Center – Babies and Children’s Hospital, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center, Hackensack University Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, Hospital of Special Surgery, NY Downtown Hospital, Englewood Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Ellenville Regional Hospital and Catskill Regional Medical Center (Harris Hospital).
If only the heart and soul could easily be squeezed into a bottle . . . . That is exactly what Chesed 24/7 is trying to do with the “Boost in a Bottle” program which distributes freshly squeezed pomegranate juice to seriously ill patients throughout the world.
Pomegranates have long been recognized as a medicinal fruit, and its juice as a virtual powerhouse of nutrients. Pomegranate juice is known to have an anti-inflammatory effect and is also believed to protect the body from free-radical damage. The juice provides frail and severely weakened patients with a strong nutritional boost, which their battered immune systems sorely need. Many renowned oncologists have praised Chesed’s program and have even termed it a “blood-transfusion in a bottle.” With this in mind, Chesed 24/7 distributes thousands of bottles of pure, freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice to patients that are undergoing chemotherapy treatment or other severe treatments and need to regain their energy and blood levels.
This past year alone, Chesed 24/7 ordered over 30,000 fresh pomegranates. Volunteers seeded and juiced them, filling over 20,000 eight ounce bottles which were immediately frozen. These bottles were then sent around the world to those whose immune systems have been weakened by serious illness or the effects of medical treatments. Into every bottle goes the heart, the soul and the good wishes of Chesed 24/7.
Chesed 24/7 delivers hot nutritious meals to hospitalized patients and their families. Family members caring for patients in the hospital may also request that meals be delivered to the other family members remaining at home in Rockland County. Chesed 24/7 is the only organization that delivers hot meals to hospitalized patients and their families on the Yomim Tovim. Non Jewish drivers are hired to pick up the specially wrapped and prepared hot meals and transport them to the patients in the hospitals so that they can have a simchas Yom Tov.
By providing good nutrition and continuity of daily care, Chesed 24/7 hopes to keep the family situation stable during times of challenge. The family or the patient can recuperate without worrying about their family being well fed and taken care of. Chesed 24/7 will take care of them until everyone is home and/or able to prepare food themselves.
Chesed 24/7 also runs a food preparation gemach for Digestive Wellness, a division of Chesed 24/7 dedicated to helping those with Crohn’s and other digestive illnesses. Under the dedicated eyes of Mrs. Weiss, special volunteers carefully prepare meals which are designed to alleviate the symptoms of these illnesses. Chesed’s volunteers also prepare special meals for other medical conditions that require dietary restrictions. For example, many seniors in our community have Type II diabetes and require a low or no sugar diet. Some, unfortunately, simply cannot prepare meals which take these limitations into consideration. Chesed 24/7 prepares meals for those who need sugar free, lactose free, low cholesterol, gluten free, and low salt meals. These meals are delivered to the patient and/or family member at home in Rockland County or to the patient and/or the family in the hospital.
Spending Shabbos in a hospital can at times be challenging. In an effort to bring a bit of extra joy and spirit to your Shabbos in the hospital, Chesed 24/7 presents many patients with a “Shabbos in a Box.” In this box, there is everything a patient would need to welcome in Shabbos: A tablecloth customized to fit the hospital tray, two electric candles which can be switched on to welcome Shabbos, a kiddush cup, a challah cover, Shabbos chocolates, and havdalah spices to welcome the week. In addition to the regularly stocked food, extra challahs, grape juice, and Shabbos meals are freely available in the Chesed Hospitality Rooms.
When illness strikes, a family’s whole world can be consumed by medical procedures, lengthy hospital stays and stressful shuttling between home and medical facilities. For those who don’t drive, just going to visit a sick relative will get quite expensive. If medical treatments are necessary in city hospitals, the transportation costs can be prohibitively expensive and may hinder recovery. For those that do drive, the stress of the trips and of the parking can also take its toll.
Chesed 24/7’s Shuttle makes two trips daily from Rockland County into New York City, and is available to take riders free of charge to all major area hospitals. Upon request, family members can return with the shuttle after completing a hospital visit. Chesed 24/7 also teamed up with friends at Columbia and Cornell Hospitals to sponsor a daily shuttle that provides free transportation for patients as well as their family members from Rockland County.
Chesed also provides free transportation for those who have special requests for transportation to local physicians and medical or rehabilitation facilities.
Chesed’s special needs van, which is wheelchair accessible, is linked to a network of volunteer drivers and accommodates the traveling needs of those who have special requests for transportation to local physicians and medical or rehabilitation facilities. Requests for this service should be made as early as possible to ensure availability. We hear from members of the community that all of these transportation shuttles “make a difficult situation so much easier.”
If your child was ever sick on Shabbos or late at night when the pharmacies are closed, then you will appreciate the magnitude of Chesed 24/7’s Medicine Chests. Chesed 24/7 has several medicine chests strategically placed in the homes of volunteers throughout Rockland County. These chests are stocked with Infant and Adult Tylenol, Benadryl, bandages, Pedialyte, Motrin, Sudafed, nebulizers and many other over-the-counter medications which can be dispensed when local pharmacies are closed. When members of the community need medication on Shabbos, Yom Tov or late at night, they can walk to their neighborhood Chesed Medicine Chest and receive the help they need to tide them over. The Medicine Chests are even updated for Pesach to supply kosher l’Pesach medications available as well.
Many talented, caring individuals have joined Chesed 24/7’s Dial-a-Smile volunteer program, which provides hospitalized and homebound patients with something to smile about. Volunteers perform skits, choirs, magic shows, and many other interesting feats to temporarily dispel the gloom in cheerless hospital rooms.
Difficulties do not always arise between the hours of 9 to 5. Chesed 24/7’s representatives are always available, regardless of day or night, for health-related issues that cannot wait for regular business hours.
Chesed 24/7 arranges for volunteers to go sit with a hospitalized and/or homebound patient, to offer words of encouragement and cheer them up. This allows the family members to have a brief respite from their situation or the opportunity to attend to other family members at home while knowing that their loved one will be vigilantly cared for. When necessary, volunteers will even spend the night in the hospital, providing comfort for those in need.
When people are confined to a hospital or are on bed rest for a lengthy period of time, they often need something to take their mind of their discomfort and help them pass the time quickly. The more people can be distracted from their illnesses and/or conditions, the quicker they can heal. In addition, often the families of the patients spend a large portion of their day in the hospital either waiting for surgeries or procedures to be finished, or sitting by the patient’s bedside while they rest. Providing kosher forms of entertainment to help distract and entertain both the patient and their families are one of the many services Chesed 24/7 currently provides. Chesed 24/7 has set up a special library, containing books for every age, pre-screened DVDs and DVD players that are available for those confined to long periods of immobility either in the hospital or at home.
Chesed 24/7 runs a medical equipment gemach which lends out wheelchairs, crutches, canes, walkers, IV Poles, and even hospital beds to people in need. Chesed 24/7 will deliver these items to people’s homes, completely free of charge, for as long as they may need it and will retrieve the items when they are no longer needed.
Chesed 24/7 runs a Mother’s Milk Bank where breast-pumps are available to mothers, and expressed milk can be arranged for infants in need whose mothers cannot nurse due to special circumstances. This Milk Bank is meant to ensure that no child is denied the special nourishment of mother’s milk.
One who saves a life is credited with saving the whole world. Chesed’s Gift of Life / Blood Donor Program takes this precept to heart and has a database of hundreds of pre-typed, pre-screened blood donors who can be contacted whenever needed. In addition, Chesed assists with blood-drives, finding donors for life-saving transplants and providing emergency transportation for blood donors to hospitals. Chesed also provides medical referrals and assistance with connections to physicians and medical facilities.