Henry* is an 89-year-old-widower who lost his wife to Alzheimer’s over 5 years ago. Losing his entire family during the Holocaust, Henry survived the war in a Siberian concentration camp. After arriving in the States in 1946 he worked for years in a family business. Today, he finds himself with no pension and very little savings. Henry suffered a stroke this winter and today his meager income goes to the home health care he needs to survive at home. At some point Medicaid benefits will provide that care, but in the meantime putting food on the table is not an easy task.
Ruthie* is now 82 years old but her life changed tragically when her husband died at a very young age, leaving her to raise their two children on her own. She sadly recalls having so little money that there were days that she could not provide food for her small family. The joy that Ruthie felt as each of her children married and began families of their own was short-lived. Her son and his wife were involved in a serious accident which killed the wife and left her son with severe head trauma. Ruthie, with very few resources, was then called upon to raise her 20 month old grandchild on her own. Only after insistent urging has she agreed to accept some modest help with her present food expenses.
Lilly* is a blind 93 year-old woman with many serious medical problems including an inherited degenerative spinal disorder which has been passed on to both of her daughters. She lives on a small social security pension and very little more. For Lilly, having sufficient healthy food on her table is often very difficult.
Each of the elders described above live in New York and are helped by the good people at Project Ezra (http://projectezra.org), a small non-profit dedicated to the welfare of over 400 frail elderly people, most homebound and residing on the Lower East Side. As we have in the past, the Good People Fund has just sent funds to cover the cost of a small monthly stipend for several of the elders. The funds are used to purchase supermarket scrip which is given to many of the elders to help them with their simple food needs.
It is a small thing we can do to help these elders as they age…shouldn’t they be free from worry about how they will feed themselves?
*All names have been changed.