As a supporter of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, “the good that you do” allows us to assist our partner agencies, like the JDC, in doing the important work of making sure our Holocaust survivors, as far away as Moldova, are cared for and comforted.

Meet a recipient of your generosity: Sofia Mandel

“Each month I get groceries and buy supplies with a JDC food card. If I’m sick, JDC helps me. JDC — they’re the light in the window for me.”

During World War II, Sofia Mandel, 85, was forced from her home and had to shelter underground with her family. But now she feels like she’s more alone than she ever was during the war.

In recent years, she’s fallen twice and broken both hips, her eyesight is deteriorating, and she has to use a flashlight to read, even during the day. Sofia is uneasy about the future.

“I don’t have anyone else,” Sofia says. “That’s what scares me.”

A former preschool teacher, Sofia was once surrounded by children and loved their joy. She worked all her life, had strong relationships with her colleagues, and spent the last 20 years of her career teaching in a Jewish school. Sofia didn’t retire until the age of 78 because she enjoyed the work and needed the income; she says would have continued teaching had she not broken her hips.

Now she’s homebound in a tiny apartment in Chișinău, Moldova — Europe’s poorest country. With no elevator, the long flights of stairs make it impossible to go out. And even if she could, the pandemic adds to her worries.

“I want so much to go outside. But now I’m scared that, G-d forbid, I’ll get sick,” Sofia says. “That’s how I live. But it’s not just me. Many others don’t have anyone, and already lived as if they were under lockdown. It’s even lonelier during the holidays.”

Thanks to you, JDC and Federation, Sofia receives friendship, nourishment and care

Sofia finds comfort in the one bright spot in her life: JDC. She is grateful for her JDC homecare worker, who regularly brings food, cooks hot meals, cleans her apartment, and provides Sofia with human interaction.

Sofia is just one of more than 80,000 elderly and vulnerable Jews that JDC serves throughout the former Soviet Union, many of whom struggle to survive on pensions of less than $2 a day. JDC is the only place that Sofia, and so many like her, can turn to for help.

That’s why, when her worries overwhelm her, Sofia thinks of JDC and immediately calms down.

“JDC does everything possible, everything necessary. Everything I need, they do it all with heart,” Sofia says. “These homecare workers, they are my close friends and family. Thank G-d for JDC.”