IFCJ FOUNDER and president Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein visits the elderly in Ashdod..
(photo credit: Oren Nahshon)
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is distributing heating grants and blankets this year to some 25,000 elderly people in 72 Israeli communities as part of its Operation Winter Warmth.
The annual assistance operation will provide some NIS 7.5 million worth of heating for senior citizens.
“The State of Israel recognizes the plight of vulnerable elderly people during the winter period and assists some of them through the National Insurance Institute. But that is not enough. Hundreds of thousands of elderly people in Israel are living in permanent economic crisis and they cannot heat their homes during winter,” IFCJ founder and president Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein said.
IFCJ surveys have found that up to a quarter of Israel’s elderly go without winter heating because they cannot afford it. That same 25 percent has hot water available only three days a week. Twenty percent give up spending on basic needs in order to afford fuel. Every seventh elderly person in Israel lacks enough money to spend on food and every tenth Israeli elderly cannot afford medications.
Over the course of the campaign, in cooperation with the Welfare and Social Services Ministry, the IFCJ will allocate NIS 350 grants that can be redeemed at any bank branch.
Social workers will distribute the grants via hundreds of volunteers, who will also hand out 5,000 high quality winter blankets to those in need.
“The fellowship works to broaden the reach of aid to tens of thousands more elderly people,” said Eckstein, adding that winter proves “how vulnerable elderly people are in harsh weather conditions, and our assistance will help get them through.”
“‘Respect your elders’ – that’s the message behind our work throughout the year to help this age group as much as possible,” said Ashdod Mayor Dr. Yehiel Lasri. “In Ashdod, there are extensive project plans, from welfare to personal security to cultural and leisure activities subsidized by the municipality.
“It is also important for us in the education system to teach and emphasize the message of recognizing and honoring the elderly population in order to build a better and more tolerant society that helps, donates, and volunteers just as the fellow - ship does through Operation Winter Warmth,” said Lasri.
Since 2006 the IFCJ has distributed grants totaling NIS 82m. to help thousands of senior citizens weather the winter months.
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