Chaverim of Brooklyn, headed by Yossi Steinfeld of Williamsburg, held a ribbon-cutting dedication ceremony in honor of the newest Williamsburg response vehicle. The event also celebrated Chaverim’s 20th anniversary from its founding by Rabbi Aaron Yitzchok Kohn. The dedication, which took place on Sunday, January 16, was one that has been long-awaited by the Williamsburg community, who have heard of the tremendous benefit similar response vehicles are already providing for the communities of Boro Park and Flatbush.
The powerful SUV response vehicle has been fully equipped with every tool Chaverim volunteers might need on a call. This includes the most powerful and advanced equipment accessible, eliminating the need for backup and cutting wait times in nearly all situations.
“Williamsburg’s response vehicle has been built like a mechanic shop on wheels,” Aaron Yitzchok Kohn, founder of Chaverim of Boro Park, Williamsburg, Flatbush, and Catskills, told Yid Info. “It has compressors, drills, and the most powerful winch out there in case a vehicle needs a tow. A few weeks ago, in Brooklyn, when a school bus full of children was stuck in a ditch, Chaverim hooked up the winch and pulled it out in no time. No other truck would have been able to do that.”
Not only were hundreds of thousands of dollars spent getting the right equipment, but hundreds of hours were spent researching each tool to make sure whatever was purchased was the best on the market with the strongest capabilities for getting the job done.
“Today is a tremendous milestone for Chaverim and Williamsburg,” says Kohn. “It’s unbelievable how much equipment we have at the ready. There is almost nothing a member might need that we haven’t prepared for in this vehicle.”
“Wherever this marked truck is spotted,” says Kohn of the new SUV, which has already begun to roll in the streets of Williamsburg, “it will make everyone rest easy knowing that for someone, help is on the way. And when that truck pulls up, nothing will stand in the way of getting the job done wherever that assistance is needed.”
Other examples of some of the equipment the fully loaded vehicle comes with are pumps that can remove several feet of water from flooded basements in a matter of minutes. There are also spare batteries of all sorts, a carbon monoxide detector to check if the odorless, lethal gas is leaking into a home, and a long pole with a net that can secure animals and remove them with no chance of harming either the Chaverim member or the animal.
Many local elected officials and community leaders attended the momentous ribbon-cutting occasion, including Williamsburg’s own Councilman Lincoln Restler.
“Chaverim are the friends we rely on when help is needed,” Councilman Restler told Yid Info. “I am deeply appreciative of the heroic Chaverim volunteers who do everything from providing roadside assistance to getting you back into your home when you’re locked out. This brand-new vehicle will help thousands of Williamsburg neighbors. I look forward to signing up for a shift soon!”
Also in attendance was City Comptroller Brad Lander; and Special assistant to the City Comptroller, Pinny Hikind; Rabbi David Niederman, Executive Director and President, of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg (UJO). Community leader Rabbi Moshe Indig; NYPD liaison Abe Rosenberg and Hatzala Coordinator Shaya Bernath.
Rabbi Niederman thanked the organization and its 350 members statewide, who have answered over 600,000 calls and are now regarded as the community’s 311, being called for flat-tires, boosts, lockouts, floods, and other urgent matters.
“It was an honor to join Chaverim for today’s auspicious milestone inaugurating a new Williamsburg Chaverim response vehicle,” Rabbi Niederman told Yid Info. “The community has come to rely upon Chaverim hundreds of thousands of times a year to help others in need. The new Williamsburg response vehicle marks a new chapter of service but most importantly it is a true chesed to people when it’s most needed. We wish them tremendous hatzlucha and bracha.”
“The volunteers with Chaverim have answered an incredible 600,000 calls from stranded motorists or seniors in need,” Comptroller Brad Lander shared with Yid Info. “I was glad to join them in welcoming the new response vehicle to express my gratitude to the volunteers who provide neighborly assistance to the community.”
Chaverim of Williamsburg volunteers, representatives of Shomrim of Williamsburg, coordinators of Hatzolah of Williamsburg, and members from the 90th and 76th NYPD precincts also joined in the momentous occasion.