“I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.”
On 07 October 2023 the nation of Israel suffered a severe and unbearable blow…
Hamas launched around 5,000 rockets at Israel, while simultaneously infiltrating into the southern settlements of Israel. They murdered approximately 1,300 Israeli civilians and soldiers and captured over 200 hostages. Many more Israelis have gone missing or are injured.
Immediately after the attack, Israel recognized that they shouldn’t just respond to this atrocity with another “operation”, but instead it was time for war! Therefore, the “Iron Swords War” was declared.
The nation of Israel was surprised by this horrendous attack, devastated by the murder of many loved ones, heartbroken over those who were kidnapped, and scrambling to gather troops to get the terrorists out of their land. In the midst of all this chaos, there was also a great mobilization to help serve and care for the residents in the South of Israel and the Israeli security forces.
On the first night of the war, VFI began thinking about how to mobilize people to contribute, serve, and help this nation. After all, this is our domain — support and help, especially in emergency situations.
We also received many inquiries and requests for combat and emergency medical equipment, food, and other aid. We immediately started searching, recruiting, purchasing, and doing everything we could to satisfy the most urgent needs.
Here are a few of the ways we were able to serve Israel during the first two weeks of the war:
09 October - Supporting the City of Sderot
We purchased around 25 sets of tactical equipment for the alert unit for the city of Sderot. The equipment includes a protective vest + 2 ceramic plates, a ballistic helmet, tactical pants and shirt, tactical gloves, tactical shoes, a headlamp, a personal flashlight, and a quality softshell jacket.
10 October - Packing Food at the Millennium Centre
We ordered food for 200 baskets to give to families in the south. The food arrived at the Millennium Center, and several volunteers helped prepare the abundance of products for distribution to families in need.
12 October - Ashkelon Welfare
VFI's team distributed 100 food baskets to 100 families in the city of Ashkelon. This city was hit with an incessant attack of missiles and rockets. Therefore, many were afraid to leave their homes or were unable to because they couldn’t get to the shelter fast enough. These food baskets helped provide much-needed food for families, especially the elderly and those with disabilities.
Rescue Without Borders
We received an urgent request from a rescue organization in Judea and Samaria for the purchase of tactical medic kits. This organization is operated by volunteers: doctors, paramedics, medics, searchers, and rescuers in the field of disasters and emergencies in Israel and around the world.
As they assisted in locating, rescuing, and treating hundreds of the wounded and dead, their equipment ran out. We immediately made a purchase of 100 medic kits, which included 2 types of tourniquets, bandages, a fabric triangle for immobilization, plasters, professional scissors for the medic, headlight, pads, gauze, and burn gel. In addition to these kits, we purchased 30 sets of ceramic protective vests and helmets for them as well.
13 October - Settlements Surrounding Gaza
On Thursday night (12.10.23), we received a call from the IDF security coordinators in the settlements surrounding Gaza. They told us they were in distress and were in great need of mattresses and blankets for the soldiers arriving at the assembly areas. The soldiers who were immediately recruited from the day the war began, had been sleeping on the hard and cold floor. The nights are getting cooler and in order for our soldiers to be strong and ready for combat, they must rest well while they can.
Early Friday morning, we contacted a supplier and purchased 300 mattresses for the soldiers so that they could gain strength and sleep better. A volunteer immediately drove from the center of the country, collected the mattresses and 100 warm, new fleece blankets, and delivered them to the soldiers in the south. The soldiers were very happy and deeply thankful that we provided something for them to sleep on so quickly and efficiently.
On 17 October 2023, we increased the donation and gave another 100 warm fleece blankets and 150 new towels to the soldiers.
17 October - Cooperating with ZAKA to Locate, Extricate, and Rescue
The ZAKA organization is made up of thousands of determined volunteers who have engaged in handling, in an orderly and responsible manner, the identification of victims of terrorist attacks and disasters, and the humanitarian and halachic (Jewish Law) aspects involved in preserving the dignity of the dead.
In a short time, this organization with thousands of volunteers has become an important and helpful arm in the activities of the rescue and security forces in this war. The organizational, operational, perseverant, and professional approach of ZAKA and its volunteers, who have already engaged in complex tasks in Israel and around the world, has become a byword during this time.
ZAKA volunteers have been running to save as much as possible and to honor the dead when all that remains is to honor — those who have passed on and did not get to come to the grave of Israel.
We received a request from ZAKA to purchase helmets and protective vests, so they can continue to locate and rescue in the field while guarding and protecting themselves under Hamas attacks. We purchased 30 sets of vests and helmets for them.
18 October - Assisting Fighters
We received an inquiry from fighters who needed tactical combat equipment to protect them while fighting in the field. VFI purchased: 30 vests and magazine pouches, tactical clothing, pouches for storing ammunition, and high-quality LOWE bags.
19 October - A Safe Place for Golan's Family
Hundreds of families have been relocated, especially those living in the border cities next to Gaza. We received a request to assist a family from Sderot, which is one of the cities that has been horrifically bombarded by rockets, terrorists, murders, and abductions. One family we are helping is currently relocated to Eilat until the end of the year, and possibly longer.
We know this family personally. Golan, the father, has worked with us as a photographer many times in collaboration with VFI projects in the south.
Due to the difficult situation, Golan requested assistance with purchasing tablets for his children because they have to do their studies remotely. VFI made a financial donation to help with the purchase of the tablets. Golan expressed his thankfulness to VFI, and let us know that he was able to purchase the tablets for his children.
This family is grateful to be relocated to a safe place and to stay in a hotel with full board. However, at the same time, Golan says that their mental state is still not good. Despite the care they are receiving, the tragic experiences and trauma of this war are still overwhelming.
22 October - Food Baskets, Rockets & Netivot Residents
The VFI team distributed 100 food baskets to Netivot, another city in the south. This city is very close to Gaza and is in the fighting zone. We met with Natalie, who is in charge of donations for the city of Netivot and is in coordination with the emergency deputy of the population complex in Netivot. As we were about 5 minutes away from delivering the food baskets to the residents of Netivot, we saw a rocket fired by Hamas explode in the city. The missile injured some residents.
Those in charge and the staff who were there thanked and blessed VFI for having the courage to deliver the food baskets in the middle of the rocket firing. We were glad God protected us and that we could help these families in their time of need.
Willing Volunteers Preparing Food Baskets At Millennium Centre
Local volunteers arrived at the Millennium Centre enthusiastic and ready to serve the people of Israel, especially during a time when it needs it most. Among the volunteers are children and teens who want to participate in some way in the war effort. The volunteers helped prepare food baskets for the many residents in need in the south of Israel.
23 October - United Hatzalah Israel
We received an urgent request from United Hatzalah for the purchase of tactical medic kits. This organization is operated by volunteers: doctors, paramedics, medics, searchers, and rescuers in the field during disasters and emergencies in Israel and around the world.
On 07 Oct. when they assisted in locating, rescuing, and treating hundreds of wounded, dead, and murdered, their equipment ran out. They asked us for help and we immediately purchased 100 medic kits according to the specifications suitable for their use. Each kit includes 2 types of tourniquets, various bandages, fabric triangles for immobilization, bandaids, professional scissors for medics, a headlight, pads, gauze, and burn gel.
Providing Food to Families in Ofakim
The VFI team distributed food baskets to families in the city of Ofakim. This city is also very close to Gaza, in the fighting zone, and is one of the areas where many families were slaughtered. The donation was given to those who are in charge of donations to soldiers and families. We delivered 100 food baskets to the families and the soldiers. When we arrived, some of the soldiers helped us bring in the donation from the vehicle.
Everyone present was deeply grateful for the generous donation. Apparently, we stirred up a curiosity among the soldiers and they asked who we were. After it was explained to them, they said, "Way to go Vision for Israel!"
25 October — Food Baskets Distributed to Families in Ashdod
The VFI team traveled down south to the city of Ashdod to deliver 80 food baskets for families in need. Many of these families haven’t left their homes out of fear, and are having financial difficulties. It was our joy to help them practically.
We delivered the food to the logistics center in Ashdod. They were very grateful for the donation and explained that the aid is very significant for the families who are in need these days.
25 October — Clothing for Evacuated Families
Our team arrived at Kibbutz Ma’aleh Hachamisha and visited the hotel located there. We had the honour of seeing the faces of precious families that have been evacuated from their homes due to this war. We also communicated with a representative on behalf of the heads of the settlement community and of the Home Front Command.
The majority of the people at the hotel are evacuees from Nativ Ha’asara — an Israeli neighbourhood right next to the Gaza border. These families suffered many losses and devastation. There were also some families from the settlement of Zikim, which is also located near the Gaza border, but fortunately, they had no losses. The hotel is at full capacity with 600 people living in almost 200 rooms.
There was also a commemorative stand in the hotel for those who were murdered on 07 October — "Black Saturday". With heavy hearts for our people, we pray that God will comfort them with only the comfort He can bring.
We were able to give them clothing for the whole family, as well as baby kits for the mothers and their newborn babies. We came to bless our fellow Israelis, and they in turn blessed us for our commitment and service. They even said it was as if a ray of sunshine came in. It was heartwarming to hear their appreciation, even for the small things.
At the Neveh Ilan Hotel, we met evacuees from the Gaza envelope from Shokeda and some from the surrounding settlements. There were even a few families there that had evacuated from the north due to the growing tensions from Lebanon. We also donated clothing to these families, and it was great to see them begin choosing the clothes they needed.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
26 October — Hard Working Volunteers Packing Food For Families in South
Four volunteers arrived to the Millennium Center to pack food baskets for the families in the Gaza envelope. These volunteers served with a high motivation and did an excellent job. In just a couple of hours, they prepared about 200 food baskets. Thank you to those hardworking volunteers who helped us prepare these baskets for families in Israel near the Gaza border.
30 October — Families Relocated from Sderot to the Dead Sea
The VFI team set out to help families that were evacuated from Sderot and were relocated temporarily to hotels at the Dead Sea. We met with a social worker who is in charge of taking care of all of these families. The number of evacuees that were relocated to the Dead Sea is about 600 people.
We provided clothes for women, men, children, and babies. We also provided diapers for the babies. We delivered the items to all of the hotels where the evacuated families are staying. They were all so happy and thanked us for the generous donations.
31 October — From A City to A Military Base - Sderot
Barry and Assaf distributed 75 food baskets and emergency aid to the families that are still inside the city of Sderot. As they drove through the city, they saw military forces everywhere and discovered that this city had become a military base.
The manager of the distribution centre welcomed us, and together with soldiers from the Home Front Command, we delivered the donation. They thanked us and informed us that they were also in need of toiletries like shampoo, toilet paper, and soap. We look forward to helping them with these practical needs, so they can continue to focus on fighting this war!
It has been our honor to stand with Israel in the middle of this war. We are fighting this war by practically providing food for civilians and equipping our soldiers with the supplies they need to better fight this war.
Israel is at war, so it is time to do more! Join us in standing with Israel by covering this nation and people in prayer, and giving financial support to continue to meet urgent needs during this time of war.