Toys for Evacuated Israeli Children

—by Laurina Driesse

The ICEJ staff in Jerusalem are working around the clock to bring urgent relief to the embattled nation of Israel. In one example, an ICEJ team traveled to Haifa, where they spent the day packing gift bags with toys for children in families evacuated to the North from the Gaza border area.

Following the horrific massacre of over 1,000 civilians in the Israeli communities bordering Gaza last weekend and the ensuing barrages of Hamas rockets, hundreds of Israeli families living in the western Negev have been evacuated to temporary housing in hostels and hotels across the country. These families had to leave their homes in haste with little in their hands.

ICEJ Staff packing toys

The ICEJ staff packed 250 bags of toys to help the traumatized children relax better in their new surroundings. There were big toy trucks, Lego building blocks, coloring books and crayons, canvas painting sets and pastels, fun stickers, and many other items.

When the ICEJ team then entered one of the hotels to deliver the gifts, they were greeted by clowns that keep the children entertained with dancing and lively musical activities.

Female soldiers from the IDF’s Home Front Command helped supervise the children, giving their parents a much-needed break. One hundred people from the battered southern towns of Ashkelon, Netivot, and Sderot have taken refuge at this hotel.

Many large families are being packed into a single room together for the duration of their stay. Some are staying for a week to have a break from the constant barrage of rockets back home, while others may stay longer. In addition to handing out the bags of toys to children, our team discovered a large family had little to eat since their arrival, so we brought them meals.

Next, the staff moved on to two distribution centers in other parts of Haifa, where more toys were dropped off. Displaced families will now come to the distribution centers to receive the gifts and other donated relief items they need.

ICEJ Staff hugs aid receipient

One distribution center was at a college where classes are suspended, but the students were also collecting donated items and helping evacuated families. The ICEJ delivered 60 toy baskets to this center and spoke to those working tirelessly to organize the donated goods. They were so deeply moved to hear that Christians around the world are standing with them.
ICEJ AID assistant Jannie Tolhoek said one worker asked her if she was planning to leave Israel. Jannie shared the story of Ruth and Naomi, stressing the vow of Ruth that, “Your people shall be my people and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16). Tears of gratitude began flowing on all sides, and the ICEJ team received many warm embraces.

During this time of Israel’s most daunting crisis in a generation, the ICEJ is standing in solidarity with the Jewish nation and people. We are on the frontlines to bring comfort and hope to Israelis on behalf of Christians worldwide.

The ICEJ is currently assisting evacuated Israeli families with housing, food, clothing, and emergency aid. We are involved in other urgent food distributions across the country, including to the elderly and needy families. We are providing helmets and protective vests to some 110 civilian volunteers in regional security services. We are rushing to order more bomb shelters for the north and south of the country and funding the refurbishment of another 20 underground shelters in the vulnerable northern town of Shlomi, which brings our total to 73. We are raising funds to purchase several ambulances. And we will provide called-up Israeli reservists with needed warm clothing, tents, and camping equipment as they stand day and night defending the northern border.

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