'We must not forget those who need help' [pg. 5]

High-profile individuals are doing their bit to ease the stress for families in the danger zone.

Aid organizations on Tuesday vowed to begin distributing food and other supplies to residents of the North who have spent six days in bomb shelters or in sealed rooms in their homes. "Even with the security situation, we must not forget that there are those who cannot take care of themselves independently in terms of food and resources while they are in the bomb shelters," said Latet's director Eran Weintraub. "That is why we have decided not to abandon the needy in the North but to continue distribution of provisions." Latet was not the only organization that said it would be focusing on helping Israelis caught in Hizbullah's line of fire, as well as residents of the South being bombarded by rockets from the Gaza Strip. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, together with the Ministry of Education, Microsoft Israel, Yad Sarah, The Israel Volunteer Association and other organizations, said Tuesday it would be distributing food to the elderly and disabled and games and toys to children confined in public bomb shelters. Akim, the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Mentally Handicapped, said it would arrange for mentally retarded people from the North and their families to stay with families farther south. The Akim program host families join hundreds of others who have opened their homes to residents of the North. The Kfar Saba municipality has sent a message to the heads of communities in and near Haifa, Nahariya, Safed, Tiberias, Kiryat Shmona and elsewhere in the North, extending invitations to stay with families and to send children to summer camps in the Dan region city. Other regional councils and cities such as Gush Etzion, Mevaseret Zion, Rishon Lezion and Petah Tikva have also offered assistance. In addition, more than 100 families have offered space in their homes via Channel 10's Web site. Jerusalem resident Sara Cohen told The Jerusalem Post, "I have space in my home and felt I had to do it. We have to do what we can, not just talk." High-profile individuals are also doing their bit to ease the stress for families in the danger zone. Billionaire Arkady Gaydamak has opened an amusement park in Nitzanim for residents on the southern border to enjoy amidst the booms of rockets launched from Gaza. Scheduled to perform in the coming days are musicians such as Shay Gabso, Harel Moyal, Didi Harari and Eyal Golan. The Israel Tennis Center has also stepped up to the plate, inviting promising players who had planned to spend the summer training in Kiryat Shmona, Tiberias and Haifa to its other centers. The tennis center in Ramat Hasharon is hosting 20 youths from Kiryat Shmona and Tiberias, while those from Haifa have gone to live in Beersheba. The Hadassah Zionist Organization has opened the doors of its youth villages in Netanya and Zichron Ya'acov to more than 400 children and 100 families. Perhaps the biggest effort, however, comes from the Jewish Agency for Israel, which took only one day to set in motion summer camp frameworks for close to 3,000 children from the North. "We are utilizing the existing infrastructure," said an agency spokesman. "The camps were already running, they just needed some money to house and feed extra kids and for transportation." He said Tuesday that Maariv had run free advertisements for the "Place the Kids in the Center"; the Supersol chain and the Osem food group had donated food to the camps; and companies such as Nike and Cellcom had offered sponsorship money. Other businesses such as Pelephone - which has offered free SMS messaging and access to television on 3rd generation phones - HOT, Bezeq, YES, Orange, MaccabiDent, many hotels and others are all offering deals to help residents in the North. These efforts are just the ones that have come to the attention of the Post. There are no doubt many other individuals, organizations and businesses that are volunteering their services to help residents on the northern and southern fronts.