Entering a cold, empty house, knowing that a parent is missing and will never be there to greet you again, is one of the most painful and fearful experiences a child can endure. No one can bring back the missing parent or take away that pain. What we can do is provide a hot, nutritious meal. How much can that help? Far more than we can imagine: It gives the child the message that someone cares. Maybe it makes the house seem a little less cold, a little less empty.
Coming home each day to a delicious, hot meal gives a child a sense of security, a sense of being nurtured – both physically (no small thing in itself) and emotionally. Sitting with the rest of his family, sharing with them in a calm, feel-good environment, can make a world of difference to a child's wellbeing. This basic and oh-so-vital experience may be a rare luxury in an orphan’s home – or may not exist there at all.
Every day – weekdays as well as Shabbos and Yamim Tovim – Diskin prepares fresh, nourishing, high-quality meals; packages them; and discreetly delivers them to homes where otherwise there would be no hot, cooked meals.
Over the years, Diskin has maintained ongoing relationships with the families of orphans. We have found that at times a surviving parent may become unable to function, and then the children in the household suffer – nutritionally and in many other ways as well. The problem may be temporary (for instance, when the family is sitting shivah or when there is an illness or other special need in the family) and marginal, in which case the family members can somehow manage. But sometimes the situation may be more serious or more permanent. Then the children have no one to turn to, especially when the parent conceals the problem, fearing that others will look upon the family with pity.
Diskin’s goal, in this project as in all its projects, is not simply to give the family a handout. Our goal is to build up the home. But tending to a family’s physical needs in times of crisis (such as by providing nutritious meals) can go further than one might think towards accomplishing that goal. It can give all the family members the physical and emotional energy they need to handle their situation. This is a giant step along the path to emotional health, growth, and healing.