JERUSALEM — Winter storm Carmel has ravaged Israel, and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), in collaboration with Israel’s Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs, has immediately responded to assist the vulnerable sectors of Israeli society – in particular, the elderly and people with disabilities living alone, the homeless, and impoverished families and individuals.
The Fellowship provides flexible budgets to local authorities for the purchase of food, blankets, and heaters, so that authorities can come to the aid of those in need as quickly and effectively as possible. In addition, Fellowship employees and volunteers are currently distributing radiators and blankets to the elderly throughout the country.
The Fellowship’s President and CEO, Yael Eckstein, said,
“Our focus is to care for the weakest in society when hardship strikes. On a regular basis, The Fellowship provides for hundreds of thousands of elderly and needy families quickly and efficiently by delivering emergency basic needs directly to their homes.
“One program which we’re very proud of is the flexible budgets we make available to the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs offices throughout the country to provide for emergency situations they identify on the ground. In addition to our emergency basic needs fund being used in response to the Carmel Storm and the coronavirus crisis, The Fellowship is currently distributing nearly $2 million worth of radiators and blankets for poor elderly across the country.”
The blankets and heaters were provided to beneficiaries of The Fellowship’s “With Dignity and Fellowship” program, as well as to elderly people that local Israeli municipalities asked The Fellowship to help.
An additional $2 million is allotted to help Jews in need in the former Soviet Union, who face the onslaught of a brutal winter.
Roman, 84, who lives alone in a rental apartment in Israel with no family or social connections and rarely leaves his home except to go to the supermarket, was grateful to receive a radiator and blanket to keep him warm as winter approaches, as well as assistance with food purchases.
Tamara, a widow with no children who is currently celebrating her 88th birthday and lives alone in her small apartment, was likewise thrilled to receive a blanket, radiator and food deliveries from The Fellowship. “This is my birthday present,” she said with emotion.
Ilya and Loda, 79, are still paying a mortgage on their apartment. They are very cold during the winter and cannot heat their home. In addition to the radiator, they received a blanket. “We’ll both be warm now”, they said.
“We are proud of the privilege we have to assist thousands of seniors during the winter through the “With Dignity and Fellowship program,” which provides monthly food deliveries to over 15,000 elderly in Israel for the rest of their lives,” Eckstein went on to say. “Thanks to our dedicated donors from around the world, we are able to help many elderly and Holocaust survivors in Israel all year round, and bring them comfort and hope. This initiative, which warms the cold winter days for many people, represents the values that are at the core of The Fellowship’s activities: to be focused yet flexible, in order to effectively help as many people as possible.”
The Fellowship’s “With Dignity and Fellowship” program fills the needs of senior citizens and Holocaust survivors over the age of 80. The program operates in 50 municipalities across the country from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat, and assists approximately 16,000 families of the elderly, including approximately 8,000 Holocaust survivors.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) was founded in 1983 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews and build broad support for Israel. Today it is one of the leading forces helping Israel and Jews in need worldwide — and is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel. Founded by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship now raises more than $120 million per year, mostly from Christians, to assist Israel and the Jewish people. Since its founding, The Fellowship has raised more than $1.8 billion for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto and Seoul. For more information, visit www.ifcj.org.
Yael Eckstein is the President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. In this role, Eckstein oversees all ministry programs and serves as the organization’s international spokesperson. She can be heard on The Fellowship’s daily radio program airing on 1,500 stations worldwide. Before her present duties, Yael served as global executive vice president, senior vice president, and director of program development and ministry outreach. Based in Jerusalem, Yael is a published writer, leading international advocate for persecuted religious minorities, and a respected social services professional. As President and CEO of The Fellowship, she also holds the rare distinction of being a woman leading one of America’s largest religious not-for-profit organizations.
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