Fixing Homes of the Poor in Israel
A new charity in Israel is restoring pride to homes, giving free handyman services to the poor.
A $1 million anonymous pledge in 2015 led to the creation of Quality of Life, an Israeli charity whose mission is to gift struggling families with a free visit from a hard-working handyman.
“Fixing leaking taps, cupboard doors which are hanging off, and replacing burned out light bulbs will never take priority over paying food, gas or water bills,” Mrs. Fleischer, the organization’s office manager, told Aish.com. “To live in a home that feels like it is falling apart slowly eats away at a person’s dignity.
“The impact is huge. There are many cases of children who are embarrassed to bring their friends home because the door handles are missing, the chairs and tables wobble at the slightest touch and barely any of the lights work anymore.”
With its team of eight full time handymen covering the length and breadth of the country, Quality of Life receives referrals from other organizations of families living on the wire. Since 2016 it has waved its healing magic in over 10,000 homes.
“Some people ask how much can really be achieved in two and a half hours, but a handyman can get through a dozen jobs in that time - jobs which have been gnawing away for years.”
A single mother from Beit Shemesh in central Israel recently told the organization that when her son came home from school and saw all the repairs done in the house, he asked her, “Did Elijah the prophet come visit?” It was the first time in years their house had proper lighting.
“He transformed my shack into a palace,” one woman told them. “Almost all of the kitchen cupboards had fallen off. He made it look new. I almost wept from excitement.”
Moshe the handyman
Shelves that have fallen down, doors that have come away from their hinges and blocked and leaking pipes are among the chronic issues.
“As a single mother, this is one of the things that I find most difficult,” one woman explained. “There is only so much that I know how to do on my own and hiring someone for the rest of the jobs can add up to a lot.”
Mrs Fliescher added, “In homes where there is neither the money or the know-how to fix these things, these problems often affect the marriage and create enormous stress in the home.”
Knowing somebody cares
One woman was in the final stages of a divorce when she received a call from QOL asking when a handyman could schedule a visit. She said the knowledge that someone was caring and thinking about her gave her the feeling that God was watching out for her. It was her first positive thought in months.
“This is the power of kindness,” Mrs Fliescher said. “It can be a ray of hope just when you need it the most.”
‘The fix it man is here!’
Handyman Moshe Klein has been working for QOL for the past 2.5 years.
“Almost every house I visit there are excited kids, sometimes looking out of the window waiting for me to arrive. One of them calls out ‘The fix it man is here!’ and there’s a rush of excitement. The whole family is so grateful.”
“Once a year, the charity brings all of the handymen together for a meal out, and we all recognize it is a unique job. I don’t think there are handymen anywhere else in the world who have this kind of work satisfaction.”
Klein says it is not only job satisfaction that he owes to his work with QOL but also his life. A month ago, after returning from a Shabbat with family in the north, he narrowly escaped a major car crash.
“I was with my wife and four children, and we were five minutes from being home when two cars ahead crashed right in front of me blocking both lanes. I slammed on the brakes, as I was heading right into them and feared we would end up sandwiched between them.
"Suddenly, they hit each other again and one car was knocked to the left while the other was sent a few meters further down the road. A gap opened up and although we collided with the car ahead, our speed had tailed off just enough that the collision was no way as serious as it could have been. I had four children with me and we escaped without a scratch.
Moshe's lifesaving car
“I said to my wife, ‘That car may only look like an ordinary fix-it car, but it spends nearly all of its time driving me from home to home doing mitzvot, bringing smiles and brightening up the lives of other Jews in Israel. How could that car play a part in hurting us now?’ It may sound odd, but I feel strongly that I owe my life and that of my family to the mitzvot I have been privileged to do.”
Visit Quality of Life’s website at https://qolhomes.org/