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When F.E.A.S.T. Becomes Your Family

By Judy Krasna, F.E.A.S.T. Board Member, Executive Committee Member, Blogs Editor, and Volunteer

Two weeks ago, I called the kids who were home with us to the kitchen for dinner. They looked at the tantalizing array of food set out on the counter and asked, “Who made this?”

In the weeks since my daughter’s death, we have received dinner every night from friends in our community, which has been a true gift for me. We live in a neighborhood filled with people who moved to Israel from other countries, leaving their extended families behind. As a result, in effect, we have become each other’s family. I knew that we would be well supported, and we have been. So, my kids weren’t surprised that we received dinner that night. However, they were extremely surprised by where it came from.

I told them that my colleagues from the Board of Directors of F.E.A.S.T. had sent in this food for us via a local caterer, and they were blown away by this act of kindness. It was so personal and so caring. One of my daughters said, “Mom, I never realized that F.E.A.S.T. is a community. Now I understand why it’s so important to you.”

A few days later, a delivery guy showed up on my doorstep with a heavily taped box. Amazon stopped their free shipping to Israel with the onset of COVID, so my “happy packages” had stopped arriving from the US months ago. With great curiosity, I looked at the return label on the box and saw that it was from a fellow F.E.A.S.T. board member who lives in Mexico.

With even greater curiosity, I opened the box, wondering what could possibly be inside. Was it some type of Mexican condolence package, an item that people in Mexico send to those who are mourning a loved one? I honestly had no idea what to expect.

What I found was a beautiful card and a box filled with traditional snacks from Mexico. There was an enormous variety. What was truly remarkable is that each item was labeled with a sticker giving a description what it was—and whether it was salty, sweet, tangy, spicy, etc.—which was helpful, because my college level Spanish would have failed me. My friend wrote on the card that she and her daughter hand-picked their family’s favorite snacks and they wanted to send them to our family, with love. It was the most touching gesture of comfort that we received; and again, my kids were astounded by the amazing generosity offered by people so far away in so many respects. It was so personal and so warm, and it made us feel loved and cared for. Again, an insight for us about how F.E.A.S.T. is more than an organization, it’s a family.

I received a bunch of handwritten sympathy cards from my friends at F.E.A.S.T.—I didn’t even know people sent handwritten cards anymore through the postal service! The old school gesture, seeing actual handwriting, knowing that the card is something that was written in someone else’s home and delivered to mine, brought me comfort and support.

I cannot even begin to tell you how many people from the F.E.A.S.T. community sent beautiful messages filled with comfort and love, both to me directly and as a comment to my last blog. It is that support that keeps me standing when my energy wanes, and there are no words to express my immense gratitude.

The phrase “F.E.A.S.T. community” is one that I have used countless times in blogs that I have written and in emails that I have sent via the parent support lines, but I never understood the intense depth, the nurturing nature, or the priceless value of that community until you were all there for me in my time of need. I never realized how much the F.E.A.S.T. community is a vital part of my life, or how much it means to me, until you all embraced me with a big hug through your kindness and your caring words.

I also didn’t realize how much I needed your support until you offered it to me so graciously, without bounds. I thought that since I already had a local community, I had all of the support that I needed, but I was wrong about that. The connection that I have with the F.E.A.S.T. community is unique and can only be gained through the sharing of a collective experience.

Our battle is over, but I still have a lot of fight left in me, and I am going to continue to invest my energies in the F.E.A.S.T. community. I could not be prouder, more honored, or more privileged to call you my family.

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