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.”