Elderly Welfare in OdessaJU_admin
The Edmond J. Safra Foundation supports the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s “Hesed” welfare center in Odessa, which forms part of a network of such centers spanning Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. These centers provide critical lifelines such as the distribution of winter relief supplies, food assistance, emergency and health services, as well as both home and day care for thousands of needy elderly people. They also offer opportunities for social interaction, organizing cultural and religious activities, and serving warm meals in a convivial and festive atmosphere. One statistic illustrates the extraordinary impact of their work: on average, clients of JDC’s Hesed centers live 12 years longer than other people in Ukraine.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020, it not only directly endangered the lives of the people JDC serves in Odessa, it also threatened to paralyze the organization’s well-established systems, reliant on in-person services and a robust volunteer network. JDC quickly adapted to the situation, ensuring protective gear and private transportation for homecare workers; creatively providing new ways to foster social connection; and investing in digital innovation to allow both for quicker logistical matching of volunteers and seniors and for the most isolated seniors to receive digital tools to connect to their families and cultural events virtually.
Given the current situation in Ukraine, JDC immediately launched a comprehensive emergency response and rescue operation, as it has done many times throughout its history.