As the pandemic approaches the one year mark, Holocaust Survivors across the United States continue to be cared for by professional teams in Jewish agencies throughout the world. The Covid-19 Pandemic has resulted in new challenges involving social isolation and access to community services, programs, and mobility, as well as the related health concerns this vulnerable population faces. Safety protocols have impacted the quality of life and social interactions that are so essential for health and wellness for Survivors. Over the past year, Survivors have faced a number of new challenges: How will I get food this week if I cannot go to the grocery store? Will I be able to keep my doctor’s appointments and afford my medicine with decreased access and rising prices? How can I keep in touch with community activities and participate in interactive programs that help maintain my emotional and physical wellbeing?
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 United States. 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.
Moving into 2021, KAVOD SHEF serves as a bright light of assistance for our Miami-Dade County Survivor’s emergency needs. The KAVOD SHEF initiative partners with the national nonprofit aid organization, KAVOD, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Services of South Florida, National Philanthropic Partners, and local donors to directly respond to Survivor needs in nine emergency areas: food, medical, dental, vision, urgent home needs (utilities, rent, repairs), emergency home care, transportation, essential deliveries, and PPE.
What began in 2019 as emergency services for Holocaust Survivors across 18 cities, quickly expanded in 2021 to 30 cities, and the coalition continues to grow. KAVOD SHEF funds have enabled more than 16,000 emergency requests to be filled across the country in 2020. Seed the Dream Foundation proudly partners with more than 25 foundations and philanthropists to provide national dollars that match all funds raised by local communities and enables KAVOD SHEF to address these ongoing and increasing needs. 100% of all KAVOD SHEF matching funds raised go directly toward Survivor services, serving as a secondary resource to what is already in place.
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.”
“Seed the Dream Foundation is committed to working with our partners across the country to create a collective communal response and bring most-needed attention to address this silent crisis,” shares Talia Kaplan, Executive Director of Seed the Dream Foundation.
“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,” adds Gringlas.
Jewish Community Services in partnership with Greater Miami Jewish Federation joined the KAVOD SHEF coalition in June 2020. This partnership could not come at a more essential time for the Miami Dade Holocaust Survivor Community. The COVID 19 pandemic has isolated our survivors causing an increase in needs. The KAVOD SHEF partnership provided the resources to meet the needs. JCS through the KAVOD SHEF funds provided assistance to 385 survivors from June 2020 through December 2020.
“We are so grateful to be part of the collaboration created by KAVOD SHEF to provide critically needed assistance for our community’s Holocaust Survivors. Especially during the pandemic – when the resources are strained and the need is immense – it is critical that we work in partnership to maximize the impact of our efforts. With the support and cooperation of KAVOD SHEF and our wonderful local partners at Jewish Community Services, we can provide a safety net of social services and emergency assistance that ensures our Survivors are not alone as they navigate these challenging times,” said Jacob Solomon, President & CEO Greater Miami Jewish Federation.
“It is our privilege to amplify our collaborative work with KAVOD SHEF and our Greater Miami Jewish Federation family at this unprecedented time in history to continue to provide a strong and resilient safety net of caring services to Holocaust Survivors. Now, more than ever, this unique partnership is essential to provide support and life sustaining services to frail Survivor clients who are experiencing trauma due to the dramatic socio-economic and emotional impacts of the Pandemic” said Miriam Singer, President & CEO, Jewish Community Services of South Florida.
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.
KAVOD Ensuring Dignity for Holocaust Survivors, is an organization that is making a massive impact for Holocaust Survivors living near or in poverty in the US. KAVOD was created in the fall of 2015 when the founders, John and Amy Israel Pregulman, learned that 1/3 of the up to 80,000 Survivors living in the US struggle with day to day basic needs when there is an emergency situation. Sometimes, it is their life that is in constant chaos that is the emergency. It seemed unbelievable. “We still get looks of dismay every time we share these numbers. We get asked time and time again how is this possible and why is this happening?” says John Pregulman Co-Founder of KAVOD.
“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.
This really is our last chance to help our Survivors—those who are still with us—to live out their lives in dignity.
You can learn more about KAVOD SHEF at www.kavodensuringdignity.com