As the pandemic passes its year mark, Holocaust survivors across the U.S. continue to face new and renewed daily struggles. Covid-19 has only further exacerbated and enhanced the challenges that this vulnerable population faces. Health and safety protocols have heightened social isolation for survivors.
Holocaust survivors living in poverty have been forced to choose between heat or food, medicine or rent. Many have lived in dire conditions because they did not have the funds needed to repair their homes. Over the past year, survivors have been forced to reckon with new, difficult questions: How will I get food this week if I cannot go to the grocery store? Will I be able to afford my medicine with decreased access and rising prices?
The KAVOD Survivors of the Holocaust Emergency Fund (SHEF) initiative, launched by Seed the Dream Foundation in partnership with KAVOD-Ensuring Dignity for Survivors in March 2019, supports thousands of Holocaust survivors across the U.S. With the emergence and rapid spread of Covid-19, this special initiative has been identified as a key program reaching any survivor in need regardless of where he or she may live.
Since 2016, Federation’s Holocaust Survivor Support Fund (HSSF) has provided funding to address shortfalls from Claims Conference funds to meet the needs of survivors in their final years. These funds provide grocery food gift cards, home delivered meals, medical/dental related need, homecare, emergency assistance and more to survivors in Georgia and remote locations in the Southeast served by Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta (JF&CS).
Moving into 2021, KAVOD SHEF serves as a bright light of assistance for the emergency needs of Atlanta’s Survivors and as a supplement to HSSF. The KAVOD SHEF initiative partners with the national nonprofit aid organization, KAVOD, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta (Federation), Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) of Atlanta, national philanthropic partners, and local donors. The additional KAVOD SHEF funding will help meet the needs of survivors in Georgia and the Southeast region primarily for home care needs. It will be administered by JF&CS Atlanta and will supplement Claims Conference funding and the impactful work of the HSSF to improve the lives of survivors who need assistance. There are 160 survivors in Georgia, and 58 in the regional program, who receive some type of financial assistance from the Claims Conference and/or HSSF funding. More than 25 percent of survivors receiving support have annual incomes that fall below the Federal Poverty Level.
“These additional funds are of critical importance because homecare continues to be the most needed service and the costliest. These funds and services are especially helpful for survivors who reside in small towns and rural areas that have limited access to support services. Federation is pleased to partner with KAVOD SHEF and JF&CS to ensure these needs are met,” said Beth A. Warner, Chief Philanthropy Officer, Federation.
The vital funding will be distributed by JF&CS Atlanta.
“JF&CS was proud to be able to assist Atlanta Holocaust Survivors throughout the pandemic with a variety of needs, as well as survivors from 10 other states with Homecare services,” said Terri Bonoff, CEO, JF&CS Atlanta. “However, the survivors continue to have unmet needs. We are grateful for this new partnership that allows us to have additional resources to address these unmet needs. We are honored to be of service to the Holocaust Survivor Community.”
Marcy Gringlas, President & Co-Founder of Seed the Dream Foundation, explains that “the Survivors’ unmet needs far outweigh the resources available to cover these emergency services, it is for this reason that we launched this initiative and are prepared to continue matching every dollar raised on the national level. We can and must do more to alleviate these impossible choices and help our Survivors live in dignity during their last years. When we come together and work together, our collective reach extends beyond what we thought possible. Every day, we lose more than 40 Holocaust Survivors, and yet every day we continue to see hundreds of new requests for care. There is no time to waste.”
The KAVOD SHEF hotline allows Survivors who are not in contact with their local agencies to have a place to call to begin the process of gaining support. The KAVOD SHEF hotline is 720-295-8484. “The issue is not going away and is not dwindling! Our Survivors are getting older and are having bigger financial stresses. We only have a few years left with these courageous individuals and we feel it is our responsibility to take care of them and offer them peace in their final years. They have been through enough and as a human community, we are responsible,” says Amy Israel Pregulman, Executive Director of KAVOD.
100% of all KAVOD SHEF matching funds raised go directly toward Survivor services. Visit to learn more about KAVOD SHEF.
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