Over the past two months – some of the coldest on record in Israel – a Chabad-Lubavitch organization has distributed more than 20,000 winter blankets to help the country's neediest stave off a fatal and harsh winter.

According to Rabbi Yaakov Gloiberman, director of Yad B'Yad – the name translates to "hand in hand" – the bulk of the distribution was completed before the most recent freeze, which last week claimed four lives in the desert city of Be'er Sheva.

"Thankfully, we provided the cure to most people before the plague hit," said Gloiberman, who also directs Chabad-Lubavitch of Lod in the country's midsection.

Working in tandem with Israel's social welfare agencies, Yad B'Yad has mounted its blanket project for the past eight years. It's staff is mainly comprised of volunteers and ex-criminals completing the community service portions of their sentences.

Many of the organization's beneficiaries are Israel's elderly.

"There are families in very dire straits in Israel," said Gloiberman. "When their electricity gets shut off because of not paying the bill, at least we can give them blankets to keep them warm."

With spring on the horizon, at least according to the calendar, the organization has already started work on its next campaign: handing out some 20,000 children's costumes for the holiday of Purim.