Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I grew up in Baltimore and went to TA. I spent some time afterwards in yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael and came back to New York to learn at Sha’ar Yashuv. My wife is from Long Island, NY, and we have four wonderful children. We love living in Baltimore, it’s tight-knit, has grown so much and still has that small town feel.
How and when did Chaverim get started in Baltimore?
It was during my time in New York when I first saw Chaverim in action and the chessed they do. After moving back to Baltimore, a few friends and I were discussing ways to give back and get involved with the community. We were inspired by the idea of Chaverim and decided to join together and start Chaverim of Baltimore. Initiating the effort to set up the organization, I raised some money to purchase basic equipment. In February 2007 we officially launched and had 15 calls on our first day. It has been busy ever since!
How has Chaverim grown over the last 15 years?
What started as three friends trying to make a difference, has grown into an entire operation. We currently have 50 volunteers, 35 responders and 15 dispatchers. The members of Chaverim are all incredibly selfless and put tremendous time and effort into helping our community. Baruch Hashem, as the community has grown, the organization has grown with it. Due to the growth, we need to constantly add additional members, equipment, and expand the services we offer.
What does Chaverim assist with?
We have a wide variety of services that include emergency calls for children locked in a vehicle or home, unlocking car doors for keys locked inside, home lock-outs, pulling out stuck cars, jump starts, flat tires, gas refills, shiva minyanim, emergency generators and a/c window units and heaters during power outages. Our response time for standard calls is 5-20 minutes and for emergency calls is 1-5 minutes. Whenever there is a need, don’t hesitate to call us, we make sure to have the right equipment on hand to be there for you.
Are there any particular stories that you’d like to share?
One thing that has stood out to me time and time again, is the incredible Hashgacha Pratis we see. We receive calls at all times of day, and night, in many different places, and often have a responder right around the corner. Once, we had a flat tire call on the highway and dispatched multiple units to provide assistance. That call was the result of large metal debris strewn on the road and it ‘happened’ to be that there were multiple other vehicles nearby that also had flat tires due to the debris. They had no other way of obtaining quick help and we were able to do so which resulted in an amazing Kiddush Hashem. It’s so evident that Hashem runs the show and enables us to be at the right place at the right time.
Why is Chaverim running a campaign?
Since the organization’s inception, we have not had a community-wide fundraiser and have relied on small donations. We need to upgrade our equipment to serve the community better. This campaign will help us meet the needs of the community and will enable us to update our communication devices and our equipment. In addition, it will help us replace our service truck which is crucial in vehicle recovery and pull-outs of cars stuck in mud, snow/ice, ditches and hillsides. Our service truck also helps with traffic and lane control to keep our units safe while assisting people on the side of busy roads and highways. Lastly, this campaign will assist with everyday expenses to run the organization in a smooth manner to be able to help our ever-growing community.
How does one get involved with Chaverim?
We are always growing and looking for more members to join so that we can better handle the volume of calls and respond with more efficiency. It’s a great opportunity to give back to our wonderful community! The most ideal way is to use the contact form on our website – www.chaverimofbaltimore.org.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Chaverim of Baltimore has helped our community with over an astonishing 60,000 calls since we started. We operate 24/7 and are always there for you which is highlighted by our motto of “friends you can count on”. It’s important to remember to call Chaverim quickly, which is especially critical if a child is locked in a vehicle, every second counts and we are just a phone call away.
Be on the lookout for our upcoming campaign! Your generous contribution will further enable us to expand our services and help the community.
Chaverim of Baltimore Hotline: 410-486-9000