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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


April 22, 2016  RSS feed
Social Services

Text: T T T

Gulf Coast JFCS seeks help in keeping survivors at home

Remarkably, 7-year-old Vera survived the Nazi’s incessant bombing of her hometown of Rostov-Don, Russia. Even more miraculous is she remained alive while fleeing by train to Siberia and withstood deplorable conditions living there over the next four years.

Today, Vera resides alone in her modest Tampa apartment where she fully relies on her caregiver’s visits three times a week.

“It’s wonderful that she comes to me especially when my pain is so strong and I cannot do for myself,” said Vera. “It makes me feel better knowing my home gets cleaned, laundry and food shopping get done and she takes me to my doctor appointments. Also, she helps me translate. I know in my soul that you are all good people the way you help me.”

In the greater Tampa Bay area, including Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties, more than 100 Holocaust survivors either receive or are waiting for home-care assistance from the Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services’ Holocaust Survivor Program.

Most people would prefer to live in their own homes as they age, but it is more traumaic for some Holocaust survivors. The prospect of institutionalization may remind them of imprisonment, concentration camps, displacement, or government abuse.

Living with malnutrition, torture and severe mental stress can have other lasting effects. Many survivors are frailer, both physically and psychologically, and do not have the family structure for support. According to a Times of Israel report, the Jewish Federation of North America stated that out of the 100,000 survivors living in the U.S., 1 out of 4 live below the poverty level.

The Holocaust Survivor Program at Gulf Coast provides in-home care, transportation to medical appointments, bathing, meal preparation, shopping for basic necessities, cleaning services, emotional support and other essential services to prevent out-of-home placement. The services are provided to those survivors who qualify based on needs, income and assets.

Currently, funding for this program is provided by The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc., the Department of Financial Services and private donations.

As this unique population of senior citizens continues to age, the need for support increases dramatically and will continue to do so over the next several years. Many cannot afford to manage on their own and remain in their homes. Those who can need more hours of home care to manage daily tasks like eating, bathing and housekeeping.

Gulf Coast JFCS is struggling to provide all Holocaust survivors in the area with this benefit. The agency estimates that it would cost an additional $1 million annually over the next five years to accomplish this goal.

“We really need your help. As Jews, we have an obligation to do everything we can to help these survivors who have endured so much,” said Cindy Minetti, director of Jewish Family Services.

To make a donation, send it to Gulf Coast JFCS – Holocaust Survivor Program, 14041 Icot Blvd., Clearwater, FL 33760 or go online to and in the “notes” section, indicate Holocaust Survivor Program.

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