NEW YORK CITY, NY, October 16, 2020, New York City-based nonprofit Selfhelp Community Services is dedicated to maintaining the independence and dignity of vulnerable New Yorkers through a range of housing, home health care, and social services. They are the largest provider of comprehensive services to Holocaust survivors in the world, and this week they received a donation of crucial PPE to aid their efforts. The donation was made by the SGN Community, in partnership with The Starbucks Foundation, through Direct Relief. The relief partnership was coordinated by 5th Element Group.
In September, The U.S. Millennial Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Survey revealed that over 50% of millennials in the United States do not know what Auschwitz was. For Mrs. Livia Horovitz, who was taken to a concentration camp at six years old and lost 28 relatives in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, such ignorance is unthinkable.
“We must never forget,” said Mrs. Horovitz, who recently retold the story of her life to her four millennial grandsons. “I want my children and grandchildren to know what happened, and as many other people as possible, so history does not repeat itself.”
She also shares stories of hurt and hope with Mrs. Judy Gary, her aide for the last two years through Selfhelp. “She tells her story so well,” said Judy. “Every time I hear it, I’m amazed by how strong she is.”
Part of that strength comes from the care Mrs. Horovitz receives from Judy and the team behind her at Selfhelp, an organization that has been providing comprehensive services to New York City Holocaust survivors for more than 80 years. Selfhelp offers a full continuum of care to over 4,500 survivors, including enhanced case management, home health care, housekeeping, financial management/guardianship, social programs, emergency financial assistance, and more.
As these inspirational Holocaust survivors grow into their 80s, 90s, and beyond, their needs become ever more complex. In addition to the problems of aging and the many lingering physical and psychological problems attributable to their experiences during the Holocaust, the COVID-19 pandemic has made this already-vulnerable population even more at risk.
Thankfully, the donation of PPE and other relief materials made by the SGN community, in partnership with Direct Relief, have helped to fill this need for the Selfhelp aides and the communities they serve. And that creates help and hope, what they call “some good news.”
This donation through Direct Relief was made possible by the purchases of Some Good Merch made at The SGN Store, which was created by Some Good News, a YouTube sensation hosted in its first season by John Krasinski. The store is managed by Sevenly.org, which sends proceeds from purchases to The SGN Fund, 100% of which goes directly to charitable organizations like Direct Relief and Selfhelp. These SGN Store donations for COVID-19 relief efforts are matched dollar-for-dollar by The Starbucks Foundation, up to $1 million, through the end of this year. PPE Distributor FMP Enterprises of New York helped facilitate the order for supplies based on Selfhel’s needs and specific requests.
Selfhelp’s services are certainly a blessing to the Holocaust survivors in their care, but the blessing doesn’t stop there. The work done by Selfhelp preserves a vital cultural legacy. “It’s a blessing working for Selfhelp,” said aide Sammy Castaneda. “You only have to have an ear, a heart, and patience, and they will tell you their story.”
And that is Some Good News, when we all need more of it.