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Hands On Tzedakah, a 501 (c) 3 public charity was founded in 2003 and provides charitable funding for individuals in need by supporting programs that fall below the radar screen of traditional funding. Hands on Tzedakah (HOT) partners with programs where funding serves to make a profound difference in people's lives and with the donors by enabling them to see, touch, and feel the effect of their charitable dollars at work.


In aggregate, through the end of 2008, HOT raised and distributed over $5,000,000 and has supported more than 100 projects in the United States, in Israel, and in other parts of the world affecting over 25,000 individuals.

No part of any contribution to HOT is diverted to overhead since all of these expenses are paid through a special grant made by one of its founders, in contrast to many philanthropic organizations or philanthropic foundations.

The major focus of HOT is primarily to support "safety-net" or essential, life-sustaining programs. These programs include projects that combat hunger, poverty, illness and provide disaster relief. Additionally, human service type projects that have to do with quality-of-life programs such as providing health and mental wellness support to victims of terror, the economically disadvantaged, disabled, abused, elderly, ill are supported as well.

One example was the financial assistance that HOT provided to 18-month old Damian, son of 23 year old Monserrat Cervantes. Damian was born with a misshapen skull and needed a special helmut which Medicaid would not pay for. "They didn't see it as a health issue," Cervantes said. Medicaid called it cosmetic. "We were never people to go ask anybody for anything. Mostly, we were embarrassed that we weren't able to provide for our son," Cervantes said. [1] HOT provided funding through the Caridad Center, in such a way that Cervantes was not embarrassed.

Hands On Tzedakah works with the Caridad Center so that they can help people in emergencies with rent or electric bills. The Caridad Center also tutors elementary students, distributes Thanksgiving dinners and "adopts" families for Christmas. "We operate on the kindness of others. Without them, we would not be open," Executive Director Barbara Vilaseca said.[2]

Another example is the Hands on Tzedakah Scholarship administered by the George Snow Scholarship Fund. Brian Kopstein, 2006 winner, graduated Olympic Heights Community High School in May 2006 and is attending the University of Central Florida. "I wish to be the first person in my family to succeed both educationally and financially by attending and graduating from a prestigious University," said Brian.[3]

And one example of the work that HOT accomplishes in Israel is the program "Sandwiches for Schools" administered through Table to Table. It is an initiative that provided during 2008, over 1700 sandwiches every day to 29 schools in the center of Israel. Table to Table volunteers and partners meet every morning at 5 separate locations to prepare the lunch meal: a sandwich, paid for by Hands on Tzedakah, accompanied by fruit and vegetables "rescued" by Table to Table through its Project Leket (Gleaning), a produce harvesting initiative that has seen over 1,000,000 kilograms of fruits and vegetables "saved" over the last two years.

Sandwiches for Schools provides in 2009 over 3,000 sandwiches daily, and is the largest program of its kind in Israel. "Hands On Tzedakah has been fighting hunger in Israel for the last 4 years, providing food packages to indigent family members of the Israeli Border Patrol, to poor families, to soup kitchens and to youth centers. Expanding the initiative was important for our donors, so we approached Table to Table", says Ron Gallatin and Rose Robinson, co-founders of Hands on Tzedakah.[4]

HOT connects the donor with the people being helped and facilitates communication between the donors and the projects. In addition, HOT listens to the donor, seeking out new initiatives that are important to him/her. Whenever possible, donor dollars are leveraged through matching funds from other donors and organizations.

The initial criteria for funding requires that the project or need meet the parameters of the mission statement. If a program meets these parameters then prior to any substantial program funding, HOT engages in a "Hands On" process by visiting the program, getting to know the program and obtaining and reviewing information on budgets and other financial information, including tax returns and accounting reports. Also, there is a belief that utilizing volunteers is essential.

Financial support given by Hands on Tzedakah must ultimately make a profound difference in the project and people served.

In cases where funds are distributed to individual intermediaries who have developed programs that meet the criteria, HOT insists upon an on-going interaction with regular financial and operating reports to Hands On Tzedakah so that there is satisfaction that the funds allocated to them are used as intended.


  1. ^ Sarmiento, Gretel (February 11, 2008). "Organizations, church give toddler gift of special helmet". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  
  2. ^ Haase, Linda (May 21, 2008). "Caridad Center plans campaign to raise money". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  
  3. ^ "George Snow Scholarship Winners". American Association of Caregiving Youth. June 1, 2006. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  
  4. ^ Leiba, Paul (April,, 2007). "Sandwich Program Goes National". Table to Table. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  

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