Chaverim of Queens, founded in memory of world-renowned philanthropist, Mr. Jack Friedman, a”h, started with just ten volunteers. That was a dozen years ago when calls were dispatched to volunteers via beepers. Today, Chaverim of Queens has over 100 volunteers who respond to calls rapidly via an APP. The acts of chesed that the volunteers of Chaverim do daily, does not go unnoticed by those who have benefited from the assistance provided. The devastating effects of the events of this past year will be studied long into the future, but if there is just one lesson, it may be that every life has extreme value and time may be cut short most unexpectedly.

 Times may have certainly changed, and yes, milestones have been achieved. However, some things have not changed that much and for that reason Chaverim of Queens, is now in its twelfth consecutive year operating an anti-drinking and driving campaign, spreading awareness and asking the community to please be safe over the Jewish holiday – Purim.

 We are unfortunately aware of the excessive drinking that takes place within our communities during the joyous holiday of Purim. This year’s celebrations will look quite different with congregations and institutions practicing COVID-safe festivities. Chaverim stands ready to assist offering its transport services as necessary. While it is almost impossible to prevent people from partaking in such behavior there are other solutions to keep friends and family safe.

 The Chaverim of Queens Purim “Don’t Drink and Drive campaign,” which pioneered Purim of 2009, was founded to prevent the likelihood that someone will be tempted to drive while under the influence on this festive day. To prevent those who may be unfit to drive on Purim, Chaverim has “Volunteer Designated Drivers” available in Queens throughout Purim. This service can be requested by calling the Chaverim 24 hour hotline number: 718-441-0505.  “The hot line number should be publicized and shared,” said Chaverim co-founder Avi Cyperstein. “The community can enjoy Purim knowing that we are just a phone call away.”

 This past year, Chaverim of Queens has continued its stellar response to calls including car troubles like lockouts, flat tires, boosts, among others, and home lockouts. The recent bout of storms has seen Chaverim volunteers assisting locals trapped on ice patches and a local election saw a new branch of Chaverim assist voters to the polls amid a blizzard. The need for vaccine eligible residents to be transported to inoculation sites has also been addressed by the organization.

 The reality is that even one drink may impair your driving capabilities, even if you believe you are able to drive. Do not suffer the consequences of cloudy judgement. If you are an adult in the company of minors, act responsible when handling alcohol. Children are not accustomed to drinking, and the smallest amount consumed may result in unforeseen illness.

 The Chaverim of Queens Purim “Don’t Drink & Drive” program is generously sponsored by Dr. Mark Ehrenpreis, Outsource USA, and Avi Cyperstein for City Council.

 While we hope that no one needs the service, please save the hotline number as a phone contact as the life you save may very well be your own! May we all be blessed with a happy, healthy, and most of all, safe Purim!

 Chaverim is seeking and recruiting additional volunteers – for Purim as well as year-round. Please contact Chaverim for more information regarding dedication and sponsorship opportunities at chaverimofqueens@yahoo,com.

 Donations accepted online at Chaverim of Queens is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and all donations are tax deductible.


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