Caring for the Caretaker

Lottie Chalom
Lottie Chalom ob’m

Many years ago there had been a place called Lottie’s kitchen. It was a small kitchen in a home teeming with chessed. Lottie, a culinary expert, produced trays and trays of goodies which were largely consumed by her many friends. They would gravitate to this island of warmth and compassion to discuss their personal woes with a woman who seemed to have never-ending patience.

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Volunteering at Lottie’s Kitchen

Lottie and her husband and partner in chessed, Chaim, have since passed on. Their four daughters deemed it appropriate to found Lottie’s Kitchen in Israel under the auspices of Ezer Mizion. It is there that nutritious, attractive meals are produced, packed and delivered to family members sitting at the bedside of a hospitalized loved one. Women of all ages volunteer– from teens to the sprightly 85-year-old golden-ager who makes her way to Lottie’s Kitchen with a walker. She had been a chef in her younger years. Her day at Lottie’s Kitchen enables her to make use of her skills and offer advice to the younger set.  For the elderly, it is a two-way chessed as it enables them to have structure to their day and meet with similarly minded women as they work.

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Lottie’s Kitchen volunteers delivering meals to family members at bedside of hospitalized patient

Israel hospitals do not provide more than basic medical care for its patients.  The nursing staff is unable to take the time for the little extras that can make all the difference to a patient’s spirit. A family member therefore, tries to be there for as much as possible of the 24-hour day. Running from work responsibilities to home responsibilities and then making a mad dash to take over a shift at the hospital does not leave the caretaker much time or emotional space to even think of her own needs. A coke and a bag of chips from the hospital vending machine will often be her only fare for weeks. Distraught, tense, worn out, a mother will sit with her six year old, trying to distract him from the constant question of “Mommy, when will Hashem make the leukemia go away?”

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Caring for the Caretaker

And then, like an angel, there enters a Lottie’s Kitchen volunteer with a steaming hot, delicious meal. She’ll offer her a chance to talk, to share her story, to ask advice. Mommy can’t believe it. Someone is caring for the caretaker!

Orders are filled – some of them very specific. Any meals left over at the end of the day will be given to the dialysis patients who find it so difficult to go back to normal routine just hours after treatment.

Nechama, the head cook, considers herself just a small cog in the wheel of chessed. But those at Lottie’s Kitchen know that it is she that creates the ambience of giving, of loving. More and more.  The Lottie’s Kitchen Family was treated to a trip to pray at the holy places in Israel. Nechama would have loved to join but she realized she would have to cut corners in her cooking. To give ‘her’ people anything less than perfection was unthinkable. So she opted out, citing a quote from the Chofetz Chaim’s book, Ahavas Chessed, that doing chessed is an especially opportune time to pray. ”I won’t lose out at all,” she assured her friends as they boarded the bus.

Lottie’s Kitchen, one of the many divisions of Ezer Mizion, an empire of chessed.

 

 

 

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Meals on Wheels: Lottie’s Kitchen

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Meals on Wheels for the caretaker sitting for hours and hours at the bedside of a family member

It’s hard work. Ditza is exhausted each day as she makes her way home, usually quite past her official hours. She needed a bit of encouragement to put some verve into her steps.  Recently that encouragement came in the form of two ‘notes from heaven’ showing how much Hashem values her efforts. Continue reading Meals on Wheels: Lottie’s Kitchen

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Lottie’s Kitchen

lk del ok to use w recipient 2Nine hours! Can you imagine spending nine hours with five small, rambunctious children in a hospital setting with no supplies?! It’s the stuff of nightmares but it actually happened to a young mother who became worried about a medical issue in one of her kids and, having no place to leave them, ran out with the whole family to the hospital emergency room. Continue reading Lottie’s Kitchen

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Lottie’s Kitchen

pr food ok to use 12419176_585529134933360_4259858518081068046_oDid you ever feel helpless? Alone? Frightened? Do you recall how a smile of sunshine could break through the black clouds? The hospitals are filled with family members who have been suddenly catapulted out of their comfortable daily routine to deal with a nightmare of fear. They spend hours and hours with the patient, never even noticing their own needs. A quick coke from the machine down the hall will have to sustain them for the day.  Often vital decisions must be made with the decision-maker running on empty. Until Lottie’s Kitchen comes by. A sympathetic volunteer arrives at the door   bearing a mouth-watering, attractively served, hot meal. The caregiver, who hadn’t even realized that he is fasting, is revived like drooping flower after a heavy rain. A pat on the shoulder, an understanding remark, some practical advice complete the meal. He feel strengthened. He is now able to once again give to the patient who is depending on him.

Yaakov* is a case in point. He known as Mr. Nice Guy. Continue reading Lottie’s Kitchen

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A Poem Meant for You, Our Dear Lottie’s Kitchen Supporters

pr mental illness flower MB900445658Thank You, Lottie’s Kitchen

 

 

 

 

In Hadassah’s outpatient clinic, I sit near my wife on a chair,

Along with many patients who’ve come from far and near.

Each one is hooked up to IV, getting chemo to cure his disease

Perhaps the powerful drugs will alleviate and ease.

As I sit there, my stomach rumbling, I wonder – what will be???

As an escort, I get no hospital meal, and I’m ravenously hungry…

Just then, in walk some women, their bags bulging and cheery

With food in all shapes and size – pareve, meat, and dairy.

For those who want something lighter, there’s a fresh and luscious roll.

I choose the tray of pareve food – it revives me, body and soul!

I thought of the chessed you do with love that’s sincere and real.

Thank you, Ezer Mizion, for the tasty and heartwarming meal!

Yoram E.

 

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Lottie’s Kitchen

Life was fine. There were the usual bumps in the road. Nothing to write home about. That was before I fell into a black hole.

It had been a frustrating few weeks. My son wasn’t feeling well. It threw my schedule off what with having to take off so many days from work. Appointments had to be cancelled. Some clients weren’t too happy. The doctor prescribed some medication and I thought we were done but a few days later we were back in his office, another day off from work. It was really getting to my son also. It was no fun for him to hear all about the funny things that happened at school from   frienpr food preparation2  2014 IMG_0041ds at night. He wanted to be back on his regular schedule. He even missed a school trip. We were both in lousy moods, frustrated at not being able to get back to our routines. The phone rang one afternoon. They were calling from the doctor’s office. Continue reading Lottie’s Kitchen

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Lottie’s Kitchen: A Circle of Giving

pr lk 2013 Laboz homeOnce upon a time there was a family. It consisted of thousands of people. At times they received. At times they gave. And always did they feel connected.
A fairy tale? No, we are referring to Ezer Mizion’s Lottie’s Kitchen family. It is made up of thousands of people who, at times, devote hours to helping others and, unfortunately, at times, find themselves in need of help . And when the need exists no longer, they join the warmth and camaraderie of the Kitchen to pay back and, for those that had been previous volunteers, once again to be on the giving side. Continue reading Lottie’s Kitchen: A Circle of Giving

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