Project Spotlight: Kupat Yedidut

The Fellowship  |  August 2, 2016

Kupat Yedidut, IFCJ recipient looking directly into the camera.
Project Spotlight: Kupat Yedidut

It is the mission of The Fellowship to help the weakest segments of Israeli society, especially those who may otherwise “slip through the cracks” due to government program limitations or the lack of immediate access to emergency funds. The Fellowship‘s Kupat Yedidut program was set up to ensure that the needs of the weakest citizens – including needy families, children, and the elderly – are met as soon as those needs are identified. The fund provides clothing, appliances, home repairs, medical care, hearing aids, wheelchairs, rent assistance, food coupons, baby-care items, and other life-sustaining necessities.

Ami Farkas, a staff writer with The Fellowship, recently visited one of our Kupat Yedidut projects in the city of Be’er Yaakov, Israel. Here, he met a mother of five and heard firsthand how The Fellowship helps those suffering with poverty – and how we’ve kept this mother and her family fed and clothed.

When Svitlana was 15, she moved to Israel from the FSU with her mother and sister. The three of them were traumatized from their past – mostly at the hands of Svitlana’s father, who was an abusive drug addict who eventually landed in jail. Her mother did the best she could to provide for her daughters, but their poverty and hunger were painful daily realities.

Svitlana also faced cruel anti-Semitism from teachers and other students. “It was a dangerous place for Jews!” she recalls. Making aliyah (immigrating to Israel) was a welcome change. “We were so happy to be in Israel with other Jews just like us,” she recalls, but adds, “yet we were afraid for our future.”

The small family had no money, could not speak Hebrew, and had no education or job skills to earn a living. Though she was still young, soon after moving to Israel, Svitlana fell in love with a man who was 30 years older than her. He provided her with hope and a sense of security, but before long she was caring for her ailing husband as well as their growing family all on her own.

Today, they have five kids together and live off of Svitlana’s income, which she earns cleaning office buildings and private homes. Svitlana’s husband has heart problems as well as severe depression, so besides working, Svitlana’s does the shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Unfortunately, despite working day and night, Svitlana does not earn nearly enough to provide for the needs of all her kids.

The Fellowship helps Svitlana with emergency food aid when she has no money for groceries to feed her kids. Prior to receiving The Fellowship‘s emergency food aid, Svitlana’s electricity was about to be shut off since she was over three months late in paying the bill. Her water bill was also incurring late fees, and she received warnings from the water company that they would shut off her water if she did not pay.

“I had to use my money to pay the bills, otherwise we would have no water or electricity,” Svitlana says. But she worried every night for her children, thinking, But what about groceries? My children are hungry, who is going to feed them?

Thankfully, Svitlana’s prayers were answered when The Fellowship provided her with food assistance while she paid off her debt to the water and electric company.

The Fellowship saved my family from going hungry during a very difficult period,” says Svitlana. “I am so grateful for the help I received, and feel blessed that The Fellowship is here in Israel to help people like me who are struggling to survive.”

“I do not know what I would do without The Fellowship. I work so hard to provide for my family but I do not make enough. The Fellowship is a true blessing – helping me when I had nowhere else to turn.”