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Meet Sadie G., 87 years young and a resident of a nursing home in Flatbush. Sadie’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren live nearby and visit her often. Until the summer comes. Then, kids go to camp, families go to the country and couples go on vacation. Sadie, unfortunately, can’t go away, and her days suddenly become long and lonely.
And here’s Tali H., a rising third grader with a bright smile and lots of energy. School and Tali are not good friends. She doesn’t like sitting still and she doesn’t like sitting quietly. But come the summer and Tali is in her element. Camp celebrates the very traits that get her in trouble during school.
Are you sensing a shidduch here? What if the Tali’s of the world could visit all the Sadie’s during the summer? It would channel Tali’s energy to a mitzvah and growth experience and relieve Sadie’s loneliness.
Bnos Agudath Israel of America thought so, too. Each summer, particularly during the Nine Days, Bnos’s Bikur Cholim (BBC) connects ruach-filled campers with nursing home residents. The girls interact with the seniors by distributing hand-made cards and doing activities such as choirs, skits, and games. They bring the laughter, smiles, and excitement of camp to the residents.
Handling the logistics is a big project, and Bnos, under the direction of Mrs. Chana Baila Hass, National Director of Bnos Agudath Israel, coordinates it all. This year, the program included approximately:
• 250 campers
• 9 daycamps
• 2500 residents
• 18 nursing homes
The numbers are up from last year, and it’s no surprise, explains Mrs. Hass. Senior residences call her in between camp visits to ask when the next visit will be. And months before the summer begins, the camps will check in with her to ensure that they are on this year’s schedule for BBC. “It’s a two-way street,” says Mrs. Haas. “The volunteers realize that by giving they are gaining.”
To participate in the program, whether as a camp or as a nursing home in the tri-state area, contact Mrs. Hass at the Bnos office. She can be reached by phone at 212-797-9000 ex. 330 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.