We have always been supporters of the incredible work Chai Lifeline does in our community. However, 4 years ago we were deeply inspired by one Chai warrior in particular, Laura from Montreal, as she told her story at the “Sing for the Children” concert.
Laura spoke about all the remarkable programs and services that had helped carry her and her family through the tough times. Surprisingly though, the one act that was most meaningful to her was the knock at her door every Friday and the volunteer standing there with a fresh homemade challah. all the trips and therapies and dinners and big sister programs and more, a homemade challah was what she waited for each week, and its magic touch made her and her family feel so loved and cared for.
When we came home, we decided we wanted to start something similar in Toronto. Despite some skepticism and it being “only a challah”, we wanted to try, and just a few weeks later, Avi’s Challah was born. The program was named in honor of Avi Silver OB”M. At the time, it was in the hopes of a speedy recovey for him and now it’s continued in his memory. Each Friday, a package of homemade challah and cookies is delivered to whoever will be in the hospital that weekend.
We still sometimes think “but it’s only a challah!” However, the stories we hear about the people receiving these packages make us realize it’s actually much bigger than that. To us, it’s just a challah and doesn’t take much time to prepare. But to the ones receiving it, it’s a warm, homemade touch, a feeling of love, a sense of community.
We’ve heard of patients who didn’t want to transfer to a different hospital because they were afraid they wouldn’t get a weekly challah. A patient who was discharged but stayed in the hospital until the challahs arrived. A family who had their first Friday night dinner because of the challah they received. The stories are many and each is more inspiring than the one before. So although it’s “just a challah”, it has taught us that the smallest gesture can go so far. It can become something people look forward to each week and we are honored, along with our many volunteer bakers, to be knocking at their doors and sending love with homemade challahs and cookies!
Gabi & Chaya Shull
Gabi & Chaya are honouress at this years Restoring Hope event. For tickets to this years event, please visit chaievent.ca