With the coronavirus crisis hard-hitting the elderly population, many organizations are moving swiftly and making efforts to support the most vulnerable and treasured elderly community. One organization, The Gamaraal Foundation, located in Switzerland, has set up a hotline for Holocaust survivors who need food or medicine, and don’t have the capacity to attain it themselves. In addition to offering supply runs, the hotline is also run by volunteers whose role is to be a listening ear. For the elderly living alone, loneliness can feel more dangerous than the virus itself.
A similar effort is being made in Israel thanks to the Adopt-A-Safta organization. While holocaust survivors are said to have high resiliency, a report “published by the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel indicates that 40% of Shoah survivors feel lonely, 12,000 lack proper heating, and 5% suffer from shortages of food.”
In addition to being able to donate a Passover Seder box to an elder in need, young Jewish professionals are encouraged to “adopt-a-safta” and “become a vital lifeline to the tens of thousands of Israeli elderlies in need.” With social isolation at an all-time high, and coronavirus direct effect on elderlies, it is crucial to ensure the elderly population does not suffer, but feels loved and supported amidst this historical moment in time, not as an obligation but as a “noble honor.”