How much good can one ordinary person do?
Some 30 years ago, Clara Chaya Hammer, a Jerusalem widow and retired school teacher of around 70 years in age, was in line at a butcher shop one Friday morning, when she saw the butcher give a young girl ahead of her in line a large bag of chicken skin and fat. Curious, she asked the butcher, "How many cats or dogs does that family have?"
He explained the family had many children and the father was on dialysis. They had run up a tremendous bill, so the butcher just gave them fat and skins to use for a soup for Friday Sabbath dinner and a cholent, or stew, for Saturday Sabbath lunch.
Mrs. Hammer declared: "You give them every week two chickens and a half kilo of turkey, and I will pay for it." Soon the butcher, rabbis, social workers and friends began telling her of other families who needed help, and the fund grew. She began to solicit donations to buy chickens a growing number of impoverished families.
By the time of Mrs. Hammer's death in March, just shy of her 100th birthday, the Clara Chaya Hammer Chicken Fund was feeding over 250 families, with a butcher bill of around $10,000 per month. Mrs. Hammer, may her memory be for a blessing, leaves a legacy that includes nine grandchildren, 35 great grandchildren, 24 great great-grandchildren, and an awesome accumulation of mitzvot (good deeds). Her daughter, Chana Homnick of Jerusalem says that she and one of the great grandddaugheters will continue the work of the fund.
Kudos to CNN for reporting this story. Read the entire story here.
There could be no more fitting memorial to her than donations to Clara Chaya Hammer Chicken Fund. I found this address online:
Mishmar Ha'Gvul 4
Unfortunately, the Clara Chaya Hammer Chicken Fund does not appear to be registered with the IRS as a charitable organization; so donations may not be tax deductible. Also, I am uncertain whether the above address, which was published in an article about Mrs. Hammer when she was still living, remains a good address after her death. Any updated information from knowledgable readers will be greatly appreciated.
May the memory of this saintly lady continue to be a blessing.