Recent studies indicate that up to 80,000 Holocaust Survivors are living today in the United States — and more than 30,000 are living at or near the federal poverty level. Many of these survivors are choosing between heat or food, medicine or rent. Others have dire living conditions because they do not have the funds needed to repair their homes.
In March 2019, Seed the Dream Foundation launched a national initiative to support thousands of Holocaust Survivors across the United States. Recognizing the importance of reaching any Survivor regardless of where they live, Seed the Dream Foundation partnered with KAVOD to establish the KAVOD Survivors of the Holocaust Emergency Fund (SHEF).
Seed the Dream Foundation has committed more than one million dollars to launch this effort — and more than 12 philanthropists and Foundations have quickly joined a coalition of national partners to get SHEF rolling for the second quarter of 2019.
All KAVOD SHEF funds will be directed toward Emergency Services, specifically to address the following urgent and critical needs: dental, vision, medical, emergency home services (emergency utilities, home repairs, rent support), and food.
KAVOD SHEF funds will be utilized quickly, with few restrictions, to address unmet emergency needs of Survivors in partner cities, including San Diego, where this special initiative will launch in August 2019.
“Caring for the needs of Survivors and ensuring those needs are being met with compassion and dignity cannot and should not be the responsibility of any one organization or institution,” Michael Jeser, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County stated when asked about the Initiative. “With the support of KAVOD and Seed the Dream Foundation, our San Diego Jewish community is going to be able to make significant strides in elevating our response to emergency needs of Survivors. Collectively, we will make an even greater difference in the lives of those who have given so much.”
In partnership with the Jewish Federation, Jewish Family Service of San Diego’s acting CEO and Chief Operating Officer, Dana Toppel added, “It is our responsibility to ensure that every Survivor lives with the dignity they deserve. These funds will enable us to meet the critical needs that emerge as Survivors age and need greater assistance and care.”
KAVOD SHEF exponentially multiplies the dollars (and critical services) directly aiding Survivors. Leveraging the funds raised through a special philanthropic national matching initiative, KAVOD will work with close to fifteen designated communities across the United States to bring millions of additional dollars into this space over two years. 100% of all KAVOD SHEF matching funds raised over the next two years will go directly toward Survivor services, serving as a secondary resource to what is already in place.
“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 — even if we exceed our original goals,” Marcy Gringlas, President & Co-Founder of Seed the Dream Foundation, explained. “It is our hope that KAVOD SHEF will be far reaching, and allow Survivors across the country to have access to these critical services.”
Seed the Dream Foundation is committed to working with its partners across the country to create a collective communal response and bring most-needed attention to address this silent crisis.
“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,” added Gringlas.
KAVOD SHEF funds will be utilized quickly, with few restrictions, to address unmet emergency needs of Survivors in partner cities. As one of the local communities in the KAVOD SHEF coalition, San Diego will launch this special initiative in August 2019.
To ensure greater access to Survivors, marketing of the KAVOD SHEF initiative will include the national phone hotline. 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.
In the 3 years that KAVOD has operated, close to 1,400 Holocaust Survivors in 39 communities in the U.S. have been supported. It is KAVOD’s mission to meet these courageous people exactly where they are and offer them genuine compassion and love, so they can feel relief in the most dignified way. KAVOD offers more than aid for groceries and household necessities. KAVOD offers community, connection, and the very real sensation of feeling valued.
“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,” said 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.
Learn more about KAVOD SHEF at www.kavodensuringdignity.com.