Consider Helping A Nonprofit That Helps Holocaust Survivors

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By Masha Pearl

As the world looked on, helpless to stop the Nazi scourge, a group of Jewish philanthropists banded together in Germany in 1934 to help those most affected by the Nazi terror. Blue cards were issued to those receiving aid thereby giving rise to the organization’s name the “Blue Card.”

Re-established in 1939 in New York City, the Blue Card currently aids more than 2,500 Holocaust survivor households across the United States. Many survivors, who lost their entire families during the war, are forced to make ends meet on fixed incomes.

Sylvia Mandel, now deceased, received a visit in the hospital from Mabel Wagman in preparation for Wagman’s bat mitzvah.

The scars, both emotional and physical, left by the war run deep and continue to be an unimaginable burden for survivors. Research has shown that survivors are at a higher risk of getting cancer and suffering from anxiety disorders than their non-survivor contemporaries. The decline of entitlements and the growing needs of survivors as they age have forced many of them to live at or below the federal poverty level.

The Blue Card, as an agency of last resort, offers survivors a place to turn to and a sense of hope. Just last year, it distributed nearly $3 million through programs aimed at ensuring that the basic needs of survivors are met including, but not limited to: an emergency cash assistance program that covers the cost of medicine, food and rent; a dental care program; a program that provides a check for survivors at the High Holidays so they are able to comfortably spend money during holidays; a program that provides survivors with an emergency response button giving them easy access to help; a program that supports Holocaust survivors fighting cancer; and a hospital visitation program that allows volunteers to visit lonely survivors while they are convalescing.

The Blue Card is always there when survivors need us the most. Just this year, in the face of the Flint water crisis, the Blue Card donated bottled water to survivors living in the area.

Over the years, many of the survivors we serve have said that they do not know what they would do without the help of our organization. We have often been told that we are “a beacon of hope.”

Try as we might, with each passing year it becomes more and more difficult to keep up with the growing demand for services. That is why this holiday season we urge you to contribute to the Blue Card. Your support, however big or small, will mean the world to destitute survivors who depend on the Blue Card to satisfy their basic needs and to ensure their quality of life does not suffer. The time for action is now as survivors are entering their twilight years and their numbers begin to dwindle.

Masha Pearl is executive director of the Blue Card, www.bluecardfund.org.

 

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