February 24, 2009
Israel Diary – Passion
What struck me most as I sat in the lobby of our hotel that Friday morning, and spoke with Darla Oz about her work was the passion in her eyes. It was palpable. Anyone listening would know that this was a woman who not only loved what she was doing, but lived it as well.
Darla Oz and her husband (who goes by the name â€œOzâ€) retired to Israel from Ohio about 10 years ago. They had visited many times before and each time friends gave them money to give away to people who needed it. (Familiar story?) When they decided to retire the wish to continue to help people did not diminish and Darla worked for several years as a volunteer with Yad Sarah until 2001 when they formalized House to House, the organization we were interested in learning about. House to House provides food assistance, clothing, shoes, help for Elders including Shoah survivors and other basic needs to people who would otherwise â€œfall through the cracksâ€. They are incorporated in the US and have non-profit status but their work is done in Israel. Their budget runs about $100,000-$150,000 each year and their overhead is minimal. Neither she nor her husband takes a salary. This is another example of a small, highly effective program that provides for basic needs. Most of their referrals come from social workers and Darla meets all of the recipients personally.
Darla mentioned that they were finding a need for funds to cover cab rides for many of the people they help. In a subsequent phone conversation she estimated that $50 monthly would cover those costs (or $600 annually). I told her we would be her â€œcab fundâ€ and have already sent her six monthâ€™s of cab money. They are also in need of some computer programming which would allow Ed to track their work more efficiently. I told them to get some prices on that need and we would consider underwriting it.