While the COVID-19 pandemic has made the past year extremely difficult, children—and the children of Chai Lifeline in particular—have had to confront their own set of challenges. For many, that meant a rough and tumultuous year of lockdowns, quarantines, Zoom school, and socially distanced activities. Chai Lifeline made sure that our kids and their families would finish 2020 on a much brighter note, with an incredible, smile-filled, action-packed Chanukah season.
From Canada to Israel, to regions across the U.S., Chai Lifeline delivered joy and happiness through various programs and exciting events. The annual toy drive distributed more than 50,000 toys to Chai Lifeline children and families worldwide. Thousands of donors purchased pre-selected toys from Chai Lifeline’s Amazon Wishlist and toy drives were held in schools and communities across the country.
Though COVID-19 restrictions meant Chai Lifeline family Chanukah parties could not take place as usual, new and innovative events were created to meet all health and safety guidelines.
In New York, hundreds of families took part in drive-through Chanukah parties in Monsey and the Five Towns, where they were treated to prizes, interactive games, clowns, jugglers, and more.
The New Jersey / Pennsylvania region hosted a thrilling drive-in concert for families, featuring high-flying acrobatics and musical performances from Moshe Tischler, Uri Davidi and Yaakov Zeines.
Mid-Atlantic families were treated to a dazzling “City of Lights” Chanukah display hosted by the JCC of Greater Baltimore.
The Midwest region offered Chanukah Parties on Wheels, a truly unique experience for Chai Lifeline families. Each night, a custom party limo made its way around Chicago giving families the chance to celebrate in style, along with karaoke, prizes, and other fun activities.
Southeast families took part in mini-Chanukah parties held in individual family tents, as well as Chanukah cookie decorating classes over Zoom.
In the West Coast, families had a blast at Chai Lifeline’s drive-by Marvelous Maccabee Maze Chanukah Celebration. Participants enjoyed engaging activities, delicious food, and awesome prizes.
i-Shine, Chai Lifeline’s afterschool program for children affected by illness and loss in their families, organized Chanukah themed arts and crafts activities across local regions in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois and California. Activities included edible Chanukah sand art, menorah building, paper quilling, and more.
“Now, more than ever, there is a need for joy, optimism, and hope,” said Chai Lifeline CEO Rabbi Simcha Scholar. “Thanks to the dedication of our staff and volunteers, as well as the generosity of our donors, we are delighted to have added some much-needed light during these dark and challenging times.”