As this week saw an unprecedented cold snap for people in Europe and the former Soviet Union (FSU) resulting in the deaths of more than 60, JDC’s Winter Relief program was well underway.
Now in its 25th year, the critical aid program ensures that thousands of poor Jews, including homebound elderly — without the resources or ability to secure appropriate supplies — get the critical support they need to survive frigid temperatures in places with little local support to help them.
Take the Vasiliev-Klochkovs, a family from the remote city of Prishakhtinsk in Kazakhstan, where the temperature currently is just -1 degrees Fahrenheit.
The family of four live in a dilapidated house without indoor plumbing or central heating. Their only source of heat is a furnace that burns charcoal. Last month, the JDC-supported Hesed social welfare center provided a large supply of charcoal to the family. If it wasn’t for this delivery, which will yield up to four months of heat, it is highly unlikely the Vasiliev-Klochkovs would have been able to afford this basic necessity on their monthly income, just $176.
Without JDC, the Vasiliev-Klochkovs would be left alone to shiver in the dark–and they are not the only ones.
For needy Jews from the Baltics to Hungary to Kazakhstan, winter relief comes in the form of warm blankets and jackets, wood, coal, electric heaters, and utility subsidies that are desperately needed.
In Poland, where temperatures dropped to -4 degrees Fahreheit in some areas, dozens of families received winter aid, from warm clothes, to flu shots, to heaters.
A generation after JDC began its efforts to help Jews in need stave off winter’s cold, the annual program is not only saving lives, its providing community for those with no one else in the world to turn to.
JDC’s global programs are made possible by the generosity of our .