When is a latka more than just a latka?


This Chanukah, Leslie will light the candles as he has done for almost every one of his 95 years. When he does, as well as remembering the miracle of the oil, he’ll also spare a thought for some of the people who have lightened his days. 

Naturally, his first thought will be for his late wife Angela – the love of his life who was by his side for so many happy years. But Leslie will also think of the volunteers who bring light into his life along with his Meals on Wheels from Jewish Care. “They really helped me through the dark times whilst I shelter at home.”

“I’m not used to being stuck at home on my own. Especially not for this long. Usually I go to the Jewish Care community centre at least once every week to see my friends. But I’m no spring chicken and my health isn’t what it was. So I have to shelter at home to keep myself safe.”

“Angela and I always loved to dance, and I’ve managed to keep up my dancing ever since (often I’m the only man there). But of course being stuck at home means I can’t do that. I found myself staring at the same four walls every day.”

Being locked down alone also makes eating properly a challenge for Leslie. “I’ve never been much of a cook, though Angela used to let me do the vegetables sometimes if she was going to be late back from work. But that was years ago, and most of the time, all that is in my fridge are some empty boxes and a duster to clean it with.”

That’s why Meals on Wheels are so important for Leslie. They mean he can rely on a hot three-course Kosher meal every day. More than that, thanks to the volunteers who deliver them, they’re also a chance for him to see another human face – and to have a bit of a chat. It makes a huge difference. “Sadly, Angela and I were not blessed with children, so I don’t have any family of my own nearby.”

Leslie is just one of hundreds of people who are depending on Meals on Wheels from Jewish Care this Chanukah. In fact, the number of our clients who rely on them has more than doubled since the pandemic began. Since March, we’ve sent out no fewer than 25,000 meals to our vulnerable and housebound clients. Without Jewish Care, many of them might never have eaten a hot meal from one week to the next.

In the same period, our Jewish Care DirectHelpline has also received 40% more enquiries for assistance than we would normally expect. So we know the need for the unique help we provide for the entire Jewish community in London and the South East is growing all the time. But that help comes at a cost. Neither our Meals on Wheels service nor Jewish Care Direct Helpline receives a single penny of government funding.

We need to raise £5 million on top of the £16 million we already need to raise just to continue to provide care and support to the 10,000 lives we touch. With almost all of our fundraising events cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, we are depending more than ever on the generosity of supporters like you. So please make a gift this Chanukah and help continue to bring light into the lives of more people like Leslie.

Please support today at jewishcare.org/donate

Happy Chanukah!