In times of crisis and challenges, like the one we our facing worldwide today, our different social circles in which we live are put to a test. Many people around the world are focusing these days inward to their families and their own survival which is very well understood. However we believe that under the right circumstances communities can play a crucial role in people’s life helping them struggle through these hard times and come out of the crises much stronger both as individuals and as a community.
Lev Echad (One Heart) is an active and living example of a social organization that with the help of the community transforms challenges to opportunities.
Lev Echad is a Community Crisis Aid and a nationwide voluntary organization, founded in 2005 by the Ein Prat Leadership Academy with an infrastructure that enables volunteers to operate in a professional and organized manner in a state of emergency. The organization persistently works to strengthen ties between the authorities and the volunteers, who can function as coordinators during emergency, and create local preparedness teams.
On a day-to-day basis, Lev Echad is a skeleton organization with just a handful of members. However, when a crisis erupts, a crisis such as a war, missile attacks whether in the North or the South or floods in any region of the country we at Lev Echad awaken and enable an operation of over four thousand registered volunteers throughout the country. With a very limited budget but a very big heart, these volunteers, many of them graduates of the Ein Prat Leadership Academy in Kfar Adumim, Nofei Prat and Sufa, will do whatever is necessary at that point of time.
Following the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, the organization took initiative and opened a nationwide operation center in Kfar Adumim at the Ein Prat Academy for Leadership facility.
The headquarters in Kfar Adumim is open 24\7 with motivated young volunteers, eager and ready to answer all requests. The volunteers will purchase groceries for those in isolation, bring elderly people their medicine and will be ready to do anything that will get the basic necessities to those who have been affected by the crisis.
As the situation continues, they are focusing on opening additional regional operational centers enabling local communities to play a role helping one another within their own local community and providing to one another their basic needs.
Lev Echad strives to provide the infrastructure bringing out the best in our country and generation joining forces, enhancing mutual responsibility and building strong social resilience in communities throughout the country.
Since group gatherings are no longer permitted and all educational institutes have been dispersed, including pre-military programs such as the Ein Prat Academy, the students at Ein Prat volunteered and joined forces running the Lev-Echad headquarters and managing its operations. Within 48 hours, a team of “Talpionim” (from the IDF Talpiot unit) developed a unique application for Lev Echad that in real time keeps track of volunteers and their tasks helping Lev-Echad manage and control all tasks and volunteers. “With this amazing application we manage to shorten the total cycle time from the time we receiving a call till a volunteer completes the task enabling us to respond fast, save on resources and more important reduce the outdoor exposure of our volunteer,” says Idan Dardic, CEO of Lev Echad.
On a recent day the organization received 164 calls and executed 159 tasks. 42% of these calls were for grocery shopping, 8.3% were for need of transportation, 10.6% for house assistance, 10.5% for assistance needed to help care for children, 5.1% for medication and misc. errands.
One call that day came from a 62-year-old who was informed to go into quarantine before he could complete a process of receiving all the paperwork he needs to get a prescription for medical marijuana. After calling Lev Echad’s national number the task was assigned to a volunteer living within 10 km. from his home.
With the help of the head-courtiers volunteers managed to sift through lots of red tape getting the different approvals needed to pick up the medical marijuana. After a number of telephone calls and the transfer of documents, Daniel, the volunteer assigned to the task, traveled back and forth between two northern towns we managed to get all the approvals and finally pick up the medical Marijuana.
This is one example of how building a wide network of volunteers in a community enhances mutual responsibility and builds strong social resilience. This week Lev Echad also established a situation room in New York, Miami and Los Angeles with the support and guidance of our staff in Israel.