A Lifeline for Israel's Elderly | IFCJ
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A Lifeline for Israel's Elderly

For 90-year-old Zanaida, hunger doesn't just hurt – it brings back horrifying memories.

When Zanaida was 14 years old and running from the Nazis with her family, trying to make their way to safety in Uzbekistan, Zanaida's father died from hunger. "He gave all of his food to my siblings and me to keep us alive," Zanaida whispers tearfully.

Zanaida survived the war by working double shifts at a small supermarket, where she was paid with two pieces of bread a day. "I was lucky that the owner didn't care that I was Jewish," she explains. "He was happy to have slave labor; I was happy to have my life." Zanaida worked at the store in Uzbekistan for two years, until the war ended.

Although this all happened over 70 years ago, Zanaida has not stopped missing the loved ones she lost, nor has she moved on from the deep fears instilled in her as a young child. The trauma that Zanaida endured at such a young age continues to haunt her to this day. Now, at 90 years old, she still calls herself an orphan.

Today Zanaida lives in a tiny, top-floor apartment of an old, dilapidated building in northern Israel. The stairs are broken and shaky, and the stairwell filled with the stench of mold and broken sewage pipes. This is no way for anyone to live, let alone a Holocaust survivor.

With no friends or family left, Zanaida relies on The Fellowship for food – and for companionship. The volunteers who deliver food boxes from The Fellowship are Zanaida's only visitors, and their deliveries are her only sustenance. Her face lights up when they arrive, and she – like the other homebound elderly and Holocaust survivors we help – receives the needed reassurance that Christians and Jews around the world stand with them during their final years.