Volunteers working to ensure health, safety of Holocaust survivors amid outbreak

Helping Holocaust survivors during the coronavirus pandemic

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - As Passover approaches, volunteers with the Jewish Family Services branch of Cincinnati are making sure Holocaust survivors have everything they need to weather the outbreak of COVID-19.

Ann Sutton Burke is Vice President of Client Services for JFS Cincinnati.

“This is a very resilient group," Burke told FOX19 NOW on Monday. “They’ve been through the Holocaust.”

According to Burke, there could be more than 400 survivors of the Holocaust in the Greater Cincinnati area, and because of their ages, they are considered at-risk for COVID-19.

“I think for survivors, it’s not a one-size-fits-all,” Burke said of the survivors’ reactions to the pandemic. “We certainly have some clients that are anxious. We have other clients that are coping very well.”

JFS Cincinnati already has a program that brings groceries to survivors, Burke explains, but now it’s stepped up as people, especially those over 65, are encouraged to stay home.

“Our care management staff which includes social works are pivoting to make sure that the Holocaust survivors in Cincinnati have access to food and groceries," she said. “We don’t want to increase any food insecurity.”

Many of the survivors have reportedly called JFS Cincinnati because they don’t have toilet paper or food in their house. Burke says volunteers also make sure the survivors’ medical needs are met and their prescriptions are filled.

She adds it’s been difficult for some of the survivors who are very active. She says many of them would meet for lunch often.

“They are very pragmatic, but I think as their world has shrunk over time, the importance of being with other people can’t be underestimated,” Burke explained. “We want to have those productive conversations with the survivors to make sure they are coping well.”

For more information on Jewish Family Services, visit their website.

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