Jewish Family Service of San Diego Receives Funds for Groundbreaking Holocaust Survivor Care

First Time in History U.S. Government Provides Direct Funds for Holocaust Survivor Services 

SAN DIEGO (Mar. 8, 2016) – Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) has been selected to receive a grant from the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) through its recently launched Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care. These grants mark the first time in history the U.S. federal government has provided direct funding for Holocaust survivor services. When combined with matching funds, this award will enable $135,308 in new programming for local survivors.

With the funds, JFS will offer regularly scheduled social-cultural opportunities for 40 isolated Holocaust survivors to improve their emotional and mental well-being and will also provide crucial JFS Foodmobile home-delivered kosher meals to 23 low-income, homebound survivors.

The JFNA launched the Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care in the fall of 2015, following an award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for up to $12 million over five years to advance innovations in person-centered, trauma-informed (PCTI) services for Holocaust survivors in the U.S. PCTI care is a holistic approach to service provision that promotes the dignity, strength, and empowerment of trauma victims by incorporating knowledge about the role of trauma in victims' lives into agency programs, policies, and procedures.

Of the more than 100,000 Holocaust survivors in the United States, nearly one quarter are age 85 or older, and one in four lives in poverty. Many live alone and are at risk for social isolation, depression, and other physical and mental health conditions stemming from periods of starvation, disease, and torture.

“Since the 1940s, JFS has been addressing the needs of Holocaust survivors. For years, these survivors have expressed a desire to experience the world beyond doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, and other errands,” said JFS CEO Michael Hopkins. “They want to be with people from similar backgrounds, who have endured similar traumas. Through funding from the JFNA Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care, our Serving Older Survivors Program will enhance its services with activities that improve survivor physical and mental health.”

Survivors from the former Soviet Union in particular, live on limited finances and as a result, cultural stimulation specific to their Jewish and Russian heritage is virtually non-existent. 
“Taking care of Holocaust survivors, ensuring that they have their physical and emotional needs met, is of the utmost importance and a fully attainable goal if we continue to work together,” said Mark Wilf, chair of Federations’ National Holocaust Survivor Initiative. 

The Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care promotes these innovative service delivery models together with the expertise of partner organizations, including the Association of Jewish Family & Children's Agencies and the Claims Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. The grant money is a combination of federal dollars and philanthropic dollars raised by Jewish Federations as part of JFNA's National Holocaust Survivor Initiative, which seeks to raise $45 million to support the survivor community.

About Jewish Family Service
Since 1918, Jewish Family Service of San Diego has been a trusted community resource for individuals and families working to build better lives. Operating throughout San Diego County and the Coachella Valley, the agency’s integrated services are focused around three goals: Empower Individuals & Families to Move Toward Self-Sufficiency, Support Aging With Dignity, and Foster Community Connection & Engagement. Many people first turn to Jewish Family Service with a specific need, such as job coaching or transportation, and that first contact often leads to a wide range of services, including counseling, education, nutritious meals, social connection, and more. To get help, volunteer, or to learn how JFS empowers change in our community, visit


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