Freezing winter temperatures are an inconvenience to most people, but are life-threatening to impoverished elderly in Israel and the former Soviet Union (FSU) who often can’t afford both food and medicine, let alone the added cost of heating their humble homes in the winter.
While most people know that winters in the FSU are quite frigid, many are surprised to learn that Israel’s winters, especially at the higher elevations, can be quite bitter.
Particularly affected by the inclement winter weather is the elderly population, especially those who live in poverty and whose housing conditions are inadequate under the best circumstances. Based on these inhumane and often life-threatening conditions, The Fellowship initiated Operation Winter Warmth in 2009, and each year provides needy elderly with lifesaving heating grants, blankets, and portable space heaters.
Ella: Receiving the Gift of Warmth
Ella is an 89-year-old woman who lives alone in Jerusalem. As a young girl, she spent World War II in the Jewish ghetto in Lviv, Ukraine. After the war, she completed her education and then worked as an electrical engineer for many years.
Ella made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) with her husband and her son in 1998. Sadly, her husband passed away several years ago. Ella is unable to work, and because she lives alone, she has nobody to split living expenses with – her son has his own financial problems. Therefore, she must spend all of her small government pension on rent, and she has no money left over to heat her apartment.
Thankfully, Ella didn’t have to spend this winter shivering and alone. The Fellowship provided her with warmth through the gifts of a heating check and blankets -- and she is so grateful.