Lighting up the lives of older people this Chanukah

29 Nov 2021

This Chanukah, Jewish Care is appealing to the community to bring light, joy and support to help fund many services caring for older people. The Jewish Care Direct Helpline, Social Work and Community Support Teams to Befriending services and the recently reopened community centres are all vital services to Jewish Care, all of which rely on the generosity of the community.

This year, many members of community centres are delighted to be back together again to celebrate Chanukah in-person, with candle-lighting, doughnut-tasting, latke-making and entertainment. 

At Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre, members are enjoying a full programme with the regular Yiddish and Kiddush groups in-person, with hybrid activities on Zoom for those at home. Staff and volunteers are delighted to be back too, lighting Chanukah candles through the week with members. 

Jewish Care’s befriending service is on hand to help many older people staying at home, ensuring they stay connected and receive the support they may need. Since the pandemic began, Jewish Care’s Volunteers team have coordinated the befriending service, which has expanded from calling around 150 older people a week, to calling up to 900 people a week. The befriending team are working with nearly 30 volunteer coordinators, who supported 375 volunteers to deliver this much-needed service.

One volunteer, Alan, calls Albert every week and, coincidentally, found out after they were introduced, that Alan used to work with Albert’s brother. Both Albert and Alan enjoy their calls together very much and spend a lot of time reminiscing.  Albert says, “It’s nice to receive a call from someone who will chat!”.

The volunteers team also coordinate numerous volunteers who are delivering latkes, doughnuts, latkes and candles with Jewish Care’s Meals on Wheels this Chanukah, stopping for a chat. They might be the only person that the recipient sees all day and so volunteers really help to light up their lives all year round.

The Jewish Care Direct Helpline, along with the Social Work and Family Carers Team, support 1300 people to receive the care they need. People like Delia, a full-time carer, who is living with a disability. Delia says, “The Family Carers Team are amazing, and make me I feel that I am not alone.”

Gifts kindly given through the Jewish Care Families fundraising initiative are brightening the day for Jewish Care residents, tenants and community centre members too. Gifts have been wrapped by volunteers and personalised Chanukah cards made by young volunteers from JC Families and Cards for Care. Children from twenty schools, including Immanuel College and youth movements, are bringing warmth and joy to older people at Jewish Care.

 Muriel Marks, who is a resident at Jewish Care’s Kun Mor & George Kiss Home, was delighted with her gift from JC Families and her Chanukah card made for her by 5-year-old, Asher Raymond. Muriel says, “I’m very happy to receive the gift and looking forward to my first Chanukah at the home.”

Asher adds, “I had so much fun making the cards and wrapping presents!”

Daniel Carmel-Brown, Jewish Care Chief Executive, says, “We continue to be inspired by the message of hope and light in the Chanukah story. We are pleased that older people supported by Jewish Care will be able to celebrate a really special Chanukah again this year and we thank our supporters for their continued support and once again ask for their generosity to help us light up the lives of thousands of our clients this Chanukah and beyond.”

If you’d like to make a donation to Jewish Care this Chanukah, please call 020 0922 2600 or donate securely at jewishcare/donate and to find out more about Jewish Care services contact helpline@jewishcare.org or 020 8922 2222.