JDC’s Elderly Welfare program in Riga, adapted from the successful FSU Hesed welfare program, provides medical and nutritional assistance to needy elderly Jews in Riga and the surrounding region. The financial crisis of 2008 has increased demand for the program’s services, as many families can no longer provide assistance to elderly relatives and government anti-crisis measures have resulted in pension cuts of 10-20%. These cuts were compounded by an across the board increase in taxes which has dramatically reduced the quality of life of Riga’s elderly.
In order to help Riga’s elderly deal with the crisis, the Elderly Welfare program has opened a number of Day Centers where elderly community members receive warm meals and psychological support. In addition, in 2010 a number of new welfare professionals were successfully integrated into Riga’s welfare operations in order to meet the growing need.
Today, the Welfare Center is an integral part of the survival of the Riga Jewish community and with that vital function it was only appropriate that it had been brought up to date. After several months of construction, the Welfare Center moved into a beautiful new space, with two multipurpose rooms, a small kitchen, vocational training rooms and new office space.
Steve Schwager, JDC’s CEO and Executive Vice President, attended the Welfare Center Dedication Ceremony and recorded his experience in this Executive Report. I get a shout-out in this letter.
Top: Members of the community excitedly make there way into the newly renovated Welfare Center.
Middle Left: Plaque at the entrance into the Welfare Center.
Middle Right: Multipurpose room in the Welfare Center.
Bottom Left: Offices in the Welfare Center
Bottom Right: Members of the Community pose with JDC’s CEO and Executive Vice President, Steven Schwager and JDC’s Director of Europe and Latin American, Alberto Senderey