Chanukah is here and Chai Lifeline is wrapping up the holiday with special presents and festive parties for children and families facing the hardships of pediatric illness.
Chai Lifeline’s Chanukah Toy Drive has collected more than 50,000 toys for Chai Lifeline children and families. Synagogues, community centers, schools and universities all over the world pitched in to donate and purchase toys and gifts for children with illness and their siblings.
In addition, the Toy Drive’s Chanukah Angels and Stars programs bring a personal touch to gift-giving. The program arranges individual donors who are matched to Chai Lifeline families to send presents for the children. The anonymity of the donor and child is maintained by only sharing their first names.
One West Coast Chai Lifeline parent shared, “I just received the gifts from our Chanukah Angel…my eyes are filled with tears because I know the kids are going to be very happy. I just wanted to thank you very much, thank you Chai Lifeline.”
To usher in the holiday, Chanukah parties for Chai Lifeline families have taken place across the US as well as Canada, England, Belgium and Israel. At one recent family party in Brooklyn, New York, nearly 1,500 people were in attendance, with 150 families receiving Chanukah gifts. The evening’s entertainment included performances by Jewish music stars Benny Friedman and Uri Davidi.
For young patients who are hospitalized, Chai Lifeline brings the party to them. Chai Lifeline’s parties were held at dozens of hospitals throughout North America, Europe and Israel.
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. The activities included delicious treats made from candy such as necklaces and menorahs, as well as glow in the dark painting — perfect for celebrating the Festival of Lights.
“Throughout the year, Chai Lifeline is there for children and families during their darkest hours,” said Chai Lifeline CEO Rabbi Simcha Scholar. “Our dedicated staff and volunteers work tirelessly to brighten lives which have been dimmed by illness or loss, and there is no better time to spread that joy and hope than Chanukah.”