A small group of Holocaust survivors from Hancock Park started an organization in 1977 to help the L.A. community. They cooked and delivered meals to the sick and elderly on a regular bases. More than 20 years later, as the L.A. community continued to grow, many relied on the group for vital assistance. More volunteers were recruited and the scope of services was expanded to provide an array of healthcare support.
As the founding members grew older, it became increasingly difficult for them to keep up with the appeals for help. In 2005, Avigail Rechnitz was asked to take over leadership of the group. Her passion for helping those less fortunate made her perfect for the position. She was a dynamic and dedicated leader, single handedly rallying hundreds of people into doing thousands of hours of chesed each year.
Rechnitz worked tirelessly, creating new programs and projects as she became aware of ever broadening areas where those in need were lacking the appropriate resources. During her frequent interactions with sick people, she discovered many had distressingly insufficient access to quality medical guidance and advocacy. And so in 2011, she called a meeting of healthcare professionals with the intention of establishing a medical recommendation panel. It was to be a framework in which patients confronted with illness, could consult directly with medical experts in their field.
Sadly, the day after the meeting, Rechnitz was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was never able to achieve the realization of this dream herself. In her memory, the organization recently established the medical recommendation panel she envisioned. The organization has been renamed Ateres Avigail in commemoration of her crowning achievement and they are committed to ensuring that her legacy of helping those most in need lives on.
Ateres Avigail is now a Jewish Healthcare Support association that services the communities of Fairfax, La Brea, Hancock Park, Pico–Robertson and Beverly Hills in L.A. In addition to the no cost medical recommendation panel the organization offers Home-Cooked Meals and Meals-On-Wheels, Transportation, Free-Loan Medical Equipment, Subsidized Medical Equipment Sales, Home and Hospital Visitation, Social Services, Medical Referrals and Free Kosher Food Pantries at Cedars-Sinai and UCLA Medical Centers. For a full list of participating professionals and to learn more, visit AteresAvigail.org.