Jewish Care Chanukah Appeal brings light to the community

19 Nov 2020

Jewish Care has launched a Chanukah appeal, to help fund the extra support for older people in our community who are relying on the organisation even more heavily, since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The appeal focuses on the way the charity is bringing light to many vulnerable people, especially through its Meals on Wheels service, which is a lifeline to many.

Since March, the organisation’s chefs have been making more than double the amount of meals for vulnerable older people in the community. The meals are delivered by the dedicated volunteers, who with the delicious hot and frozen, kosher meals, bring relief from social isolation and light to those who rely on the charity.

However, the Meals on Wheels service receives no government funding and neither does the Jewish Care Direct Helpline, which has received 40% calls since lockdown began. Many of those people who call the Helpline are then referred to the Jewish Care Social Work and Community Support Team who provide more support. This service relies solely on the generosity of our community.

Many people, like Leslie Barnett, 95, featured in the appeal, live on their own and have hardly left their homes since lockdown began and find cooking for themselves difficult, so are reliant on the hot three-course, kosher Meals on Wheels to eat well each day.

Leslie has lived on his own since his late wife, Angela, sadly passed away. He says, “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. But, of course being stuck at home means I can’t do that. I found myself staring at the same four walls every day. 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.”

The volunteer delivery drivers check in with clients and have a socially distanced chat. As well as delivering a nutritious meal, they also give older people living at home the opportunity to see another person and help alleviate social isolation.

Leslie says, “Sadly, Angela and I were not blessed with children, so I don’t have any family of my own nearby.”

Jewish Care chefs have made 33,000 meals since the start of the pandemic, which have been delivered by the amazing Jewish Care volunteers to clients. This Chanukah, there will of course be latkes sent with the meals too.

Daniel Carmel-Brown, Jewish Care’s Chief Executive says, “We have sent out more than 33,000 hot and frozen Kosher meals since the start of the pandemic and in the same period, our Jewish Care Direct Helpline 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. Our Meals on Wheels service and Jewish Care Direct Helpline receives no 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.”