Happy Coincidence is a Lifeline for West Coast Family

Rakhel and her son meet their benefactors in Los Angeles.

A very happy Chai Lifeline family met their benefactors, a couple who no longer needed their car, this summer in Los Angeles.

“Most charities talk about helping more than they actually help, but Chai Lifeline has been a true lifeline for us.”

This thought was the beginning of a heartfelt letter of appreciation from a single mom with a very sick child. Chai Lifeline has been by her side since she first reached out to us. Through a happy coincidence a few months ago, we were able to facilitate the transfer of an automobile from an older couple who were no longer using their car. (While Chai Lifeline does not have a car donation program, we were able to accept the car in this instance.) West Coast director Randi Grossman brought the mom and her son to Los Angeles, where they were able to thank the donors in person. Afterwards, she received this letter:

I would like to take this opportunity to express my endless gratitude for the very substantial aid my family has received from Chai Lifeline. Most charities talk about helping more than they actually help, but Chai Lifeline has been a true lifeline for us.

My 6 year-old son has asthma and was stuck in an endless cycle of recurrent pneumonia. Chai Lifeline sent us the best dehumidifier on the market. Since using that dehumidifier where he sleeps, and a couple of other adjustments, my son hasn’t had to take an antibiotic for his lungs. 

He has also suffered from a serious GI condition that requires frequent hospitalizations, medical appointments and follow ups. As we live in a rural area with inadequate care, we must frequently travel 700 miles round-trip to UCSF medical center for hospitalizations, surgical procedures, and his medical appointments with specialists. Living on a very fixed income, we couldn’t afford a reliable vehicle for transporting us to and from his doctors. As a matter of fact, we could no longer afford to fix any vehicle enough to keep it running. 

Multiple attempts to raise the money by soliciting small donations from various foundations in order to patch together enough funds to buy a reliable used car failed. Multiple attempts to get a car donated to us by organizations that claim to do that, failed as well. Then, one day I called Randi Grossman at Chai Lifeline, and explained to her my desperate situation, hoping that she knew people at other foundations and could direct me to the right ones. She said, “I have an idea, let me call you back in 10 minutes.” 

Unbeknownst to be, just an hour before I called, Randi had received a call from a family who wanted to donate a car and called to inquire if Chai Lifeline accepts donation of vehicles. Putting the needs of the organization aside, Randi was determined to make this work for my family, so that we can get to the doctors we need safely, reliably and for the duration of my son’s minority. A few weeks later, Chai Lifeline flew my son and me to Los Angeles to meet the donors – the incredible wonderful and kind Edie and Jerry Fox – and receive their gift of a beautiful 2014 Dodge Charger!

To say that the car has changed our life is an understatement!  This car, in addition to being a comfortable and reliable machine, has safety features like multiple directional airbags and sensor alarms that keep us safe on the road, which is, arguably, the most dangerous part of his illness. The car helps us to access resources like the food bank, which increases food security. Nutrition is a vital part of children’s health care. The car brings him to and from school, where his education and Jewish community are built.

I lack the words to express my gratitude for this gift that keeps on giving, and for my admiration for the moral and ethical leadership of Chai Lifeline. They are what Tzedakah was meant to be.

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