Canyon Lakers invited to send gifts to Israel

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A group from New Hope Church will be traveling to Israel March 4 to 20 and plan to take humanitarian supplies to share with Israeli and Palestinian families, immigrants and soldiers.

They invite Canyon Lakers to participate in this outreach by donating hygiene items, men’s T-shirts (undershirts in black or white), athletic socks, new children’s clothing, toys, school supplies and candy.

Items need to be dropped off by February 28 at the church facility in the Towne Center on Sunday morning (or weekdays by appointment), or call Pastor Chris Suitt for pickup at 951-805-7339.

This year, five members from New Hope will be making the trip to Israel. They’ll be going as tourists but also packing extra bags with donated supplies. Along with Chris, they include Rhonda Burns, John and Sandra Pyles and Susan Darshay.

Some may wonder why Israel needs humanitarian aid since it is an affluent nation. Chris answers that question by saying that, like all countries, Israel has its poor. The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel has the highest poverty rate among countries in the developed world, according to findings released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Chris says, “This can be attributed to a number of factors, but two that we directly deal with. One, Israel has a challenge that other countries do not. There are countries in the world who do not want Jews living there; thus, making it very hard for them to stay. Antisemitism is real and alive in our ‘modern’ world. Some are told to leave (those countries), and when they do, they often are not allowed to bring much.” Israel also welcomes other immigrants.

Chris continues, “When we go to Israel, we bring school supplies and children’s items (toys and clothes) for poor children in Dalit Carmel, which is a Druze (non-Jewish and Muslim/secular) village. The person who receives and hands out the items is a member of the Kiwanis International, whose son was in the Israeli military but was killed in a suicide bomber attack.”

The group also brings toiletry items for an organization in Nahariya that helps displaced Lebanese families, most who literally left with only clothes on their back and who Israel received with open arms.

Other organizations help distribute the undergarments New Hope brings for both Jewish and Palestinian poor.

Bringing candy is a big part of New Hope’s outreach. It goes to children and also to Israeli solders.

“Who doesn’t like candy to brighten up their day,” says Chris. “We hand this out at bus stops where soldiers gather as they return to their bases after a weekend leave. You should see the smiles on the faces of these 18- to 21-year-old kids!”

Chris adds, “We bring this humanitarian aid because it is needed and because, at New Hope, we emphasis serving our community in ways that meets needs.

We have the Hope Learning Academy for at-risk youth, Parent Project for parents of strong-willed teenagers and free financial literacy classes to help those in financial straights, etc. Bringing aid to Israel is just an extension of that mindset.”

“Beyond that, however, Scripture tells us to! Romans 15:27 states, ‘The Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessing; they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.’

We have been blessed in so many ways, materially as well as spiritually; shouldn’t we give back when we can? We are tourists with heart.”

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