The grace units
The Units: Today, SAHI (the Hebrew acronym for Special Grace Unit) operates tens of groups around the country. The focus of activity is in the center, in Jerusalem and in the southern region. The Grace Units are comprised of girls and boys aged 13 to 18. The members of the Unit meet once a week to collect food and once a week to distribute it, thus contributing two days out of their week to giving to someone else. Among their activities, the group “chiefs” find the time to create meaningful meetings in which they talk with the youth about the meaning of giving and its influence on their personal world and on the community.
Collection day: a small group from the Unit goes to supermarkets in order to collect food for needy families. Some of them will stand at the entrance to the supermarket and will tell shoppers about SAHI’s activities, asking them to donate one product on their way out. Others will wait by the exit from the supermarket, asking shoppers whether they could contribute food for the needy. It is important to note that the youth never ask for money, only for food. Every shopper who gives a product is greeted with cries of thanks and good wishes from the youth. Distribution Day: members of the Unit arrive at their meeting point, where they organize the food products into boxes according to the number of recipient families in the neighborhood. They then go out on their distribution routes in teams of four, each team comprising an adult volunteer who comes with a car in order to help carry the food packages. The distribution method is through “anonymous giving”, designed to safeguard the honor of the recipient family and to convey to the youth the value of giving with modesty. Unique Grace Operations: in addition to the regular weekly SAHI activities, the Units carry out unique grace operations throughout the year, such as visits to elderly homes on regular days and around the holidays; water distribution on hot summer days and soup distribution on cold winter days to passers-by on the sidewalk; visits to Holocaust survivors in their homes for heart-to-heart talks; house refurbishment and repairs for needy tenants; and creation of accessibility ramps for the handicapped in the neighborhood. With time, the Grace Units become neighborhood emergency units, helping for example the Jerusalem Municipality when there were heavy snowstorms in the city. Unit members help neighborhood administrators with distribution of food, heaters and blankets during emergencies. In addition, they have also rescued numerous elderly people from their snow-blocked homes and have cleared frozen paths.