When The Fellowship learned about the plight of thousands of elderly living in poverty in Israel – many forced to choose between paying for rent or food or medicine, as they can’t afford them all – we launched our With Dignity and Fellowship program. Through a vast team of staff and volunteers, this program helps Israel’s impoverished elderly – many of them Holocaust survivors – with food, medicine, and companionship.
And sometimes we host events for the elderly that are supported through this program. Recently, The Fellowship helped host a birthday party for With Dignity and Fellowship beneficiaries in the city of Ashdod who are turning 85 years old in 2018. The event was held at the Avnei Ganim elderly club.
Many of the guests who attended are homebound, so they enjoyed traveling outside with the help of their caregivers and/or children to celebrate their shared 85th birthday with 50 other elderly. The director of the Elderly Department of the city's Department of Welfare was also present.
When the elderly arrived, they were welcomed by Fellowship volunteers. The event took place in a decorated hall with refreshments and a joyous atmosphere.
First, the elderly mingled. After a while, the activities began. They sang birthday songs and then familiar and beloved songs in Russian, Amharic, Spanish and other languages at the request of the audience. The elderly took part in singing and some even danced with volunteers.
The elderly were given shirts that said: “I’m 18 years old with 67 years of experience.” This message brought a smile to all those celebrating. At the end of the celebration, Fellowship staff blessed the elderly and distributed pieces of birthday cake which was prepared by a volunteer.
A number of kindergarten children even came with their parents to give the elderly drawings which they prepared. All in all, everyone had a wonderful time.