Federation Partner JDC Rushes to Help Eastern Europeans Affected by Frigid Cold
At the beginning of February, a sudden wave of dangerous winter weather gripped Eastern Europe and parts of the former Soviet Union. The death toll rose as rescue crews evacuated dozens of people from snow-blocked villages in Serbia and Bosnia. In towns across Bulgaria, temperatures plunged to their lowest since records started being kept 100 years ago. It was so cold in the capital, Sofia, that ATM cash machines froze up, according to Trud newspaper.
Thanks in part to yearly allocations from the Annual Greater Miami Jewish Federation/UJA Campaign, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) was able to activate its emergency winter response system.
The Annual Federation/UJA Campaign provides funding to JDC, the Jewish Agency for Israel and other overseas partners so that these agencies can be on the ground and at work helping tens of thousands of individuals and communities in need 365 days a year. With this infrastructure in place, the JDC was able to mobilize quickly and efficiently under extreme conditions – such as those caused by this deep freeze. The JDC’s emergency protocol is a crucial part of its winter relief program throughout Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
In the hardest-hit areas of the Balkans and Ukraine, the JDC was able to:
- Provide heating fuel, blankets, warm jackets, clothes and boots
- Supply those who could not leave their homes with extra food and heating supplies
- Check in on those who needed additional medical care
Among those helped by JDC is Sophie, who lives in Sofia, Bulgaria. She was found by her JDC social worker in her kitchen – the only room in her small apartment with heating – bundled in a winter hat, a heavy sweater and gloves. JDC provided Sophie with two electric heaters and will cover her electricity bills for January and February – costs that would consume 60 percent of her meager monthly pension and be unaffordable. This emergency assistance supplements the daily hot meal and medicines Sophie regularly receives from JDC.
Together with our local and overseas partners, Federation provides a safety net of programs to people in need in Miami, in Israel and more than 70 other countries. In addition to assistance with food, housing, rescue and resettlement, Federation-funded programs and services help to educate Jewish people, provide Jewish programming, and rebuild communities devastated by economic hardship and acts of war and terror. To learn more about how Federation dollars are allocated, please click here. To make a gift, please click here.