The original Mizrachi Charity Fund was set up many years ago to collect charity funds primarily from the mitpallelim of the various Mizrachi minyanim and distribute them to needy people locally and in Israel. The funds collected were not great but a number of people were assisted in small ways, particularly prior to Pesach each year when the regular collections were augmented by the annual Maot Chittin appeal. This aspect of our charity funds continues even now, but Mizrachi has become more active in recent years.
We now have, in addition to our original fund, another fund to which donations may be claimed as tax deductions. This has increased the attraction to donors who have generously supported this fund and made more funds available for needy people.
The sole objects for which the funds currently exist are to raise and collect funds to be used for the relief of poverty, welfare, maintenance, advancement or education of persons suffering physical and/or economic hardship. Mizrachi Charity Funds distribute funds to a number of people, only some of whom are closely associated with Mizrachi. We operate a Gemach which makes interest free loans to people who need short term assistance to cope with various emergencies that arise from sickness, unemployment and similar misfortunes. We also help some families with rent and food subsidies on a continuing basis, and we have paid for some equipment to help an individual get started in his own business. The largest single distribution of funds is made before Pesach when a number of families are provided with funds to help them prepare for Pesach. Currently about $140,000 passes through the funds each year. Some of this is held as a reserve but most of it is distributed as required. Where necessary and appropriate, the Mizrachi Charity Fund makes contact with social workers and other professionals, with the agreement of the client.
Donations are always welcome and may be made through the Mizrachi office. The funds are supervised by a small management committee, but applications for assistance are handled on a strictly confidential basis. Enquiries, in the first instance, should be directed to Mrs Devora Gold, Mizrachi Charity Fund Administrator, on (03) 8317 2503. Should anyone know of a situation where financial assistance would be useful, they are also invited to make contact.