IFCJ – $5 Million Elderly & Holocaust Survivors Fund during COVID-19
The Fellowship | March 16, 2020
JERUSALEM — The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) has created a $5 million emergency fund to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This fund will primarily support elderly Israelis, some of whom are Holocaust survivors, with packages of food, hand sanitizer, and other essential items.
The Fellowship is uniquely positioned to offer immediate emergency assistance through its With Dignity and Fellowship ministry serving 15,000 of Israel’s elderly population with food and basic needs. With this emergency fund, they are committing to help an additional 15,000 elderly from the age of 75 and above.
“This is an emergency situation and we mustn’t forget the most vulnerable,” said Yael Eckstein, President and CEO of The Fellowship. “What a tragedy it would be for someone to survive the Holocaust only to die of this virus.“
The Fellowship has contacted thousands of seniors in order to map the urgent needs. It intends to coordinate a network of assistance in joint ventures with other aid organizations operating at national and local levels. The Fellowship also plans to activate hundreds of volunteers, including youth organizations with whom it works on a routine basis, to assist with the provision of food and contact with isolated elderly.
“Under normal circumstances, the elderly are more prone to loneliness as well as financial and physical difficulties,” said Eckstein. “Now, they cannot even leave their homes for fear of catching the virus.”
In the coming days, The Fellowship will start supplying food packages and hygiene products to the elderly in order to reduce their need to go to shopping centers. In partnership with Latet, another leading NGO, The Fellowship hopes to immediately begin delivery of 15,000 food boxes.
In addition to providing life-saving help to the elderly, the emergency fund will provide vital equipment for hospitals and emergency teams struggling to manage the scale of patient needs. This includes immediate assistance to hospitals and emergency medical crews for the purchase of needed equipment such as test kits, respirators, disinfectant equipment, and other needed lifesaving emergency supplies. The equipment will be provided in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Health.
“We are grateful for the support of so many around the world who allow us to respond quickly in these terrible moments,” said Eckstein. “But we also want to call upon people of faith everywhere to pray to God for His support for all of those in harm’s way, including those in the many countries called home by our friends and supporters.”
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) was founded in 1983 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews and build broad support for Israel. Today it is one of the leading forces helping Israel and Jews in need worldwide — and is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel. Founded by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship now raises more than $120 million per year, mostly from Christians, to assist Israel and the Jewish people. Since its founding, The Fellowship has raised more than $1.8 billion for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto and Seoul. For more information, visit www.ifcj.org.
Yael Eckstein is the President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. In this role, Eckstein oversees all ministry programs and serves as the organization’s international spokesperson. She can be heard on The Fellowship’s daily radio program airing on 1,500 stations worldwide. Before her present duties, Yael served as global executive vice president, senior vice president, and director of program development and ministry outreach. Based in Jerusalem, Yael is a published writer, leading international advocate for persecuted religious minorities, and a respected social services professional. As President and CEO of The Fellowship, she also holds the rare distinction of being a woman leading one of America’s largest religious not-for-profit organizations.