Joining Old and Young and the Holocaust survivors

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Joining Old and Young (JOY) is an intergenerational charity which connects and enriches the lives of both young and old

A volunteer from JOY makes a regular weekly visit to an elderly Jewish gentleman, who smiles from his front door. The project is run with Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivor’s Centre

With funding from City Bridge Trust, JOY has teamed up with Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivor’s Centre. Together they are bringing support and a smile to the elderly and isolated during the pandemic. 

Every Friday, more than 130 Holocaust survivors welcome a weekly chat with a volunteer, who delivers a challah, along with messages and colourful drawings by local primary school children. The challah is a plaited loaf of bread, blessed every Friday night to mark the Sabbath.

Ruth, 86, one of the survivors commented, “You cannot imagine what a delight it was for me to meet the young volunteer, Alissa, when she brought the challah to our door last Friday with a cheerful smile.

“It is these little gestures of thoughtfulness and kindness that mean so much in the pandemic and are so appreciated.”

Volunteering support

Paula at JOY explained: “We have about 30 volunteers who collect their bags and deliver to the people allocated to them. The same people are allocated to each volunteer every week, so they have the opportunity to create a bond with each person.

“This has been such an important and invaluable project as the community we support is very elderly and has been so isolated during the pandemic. The ring at the doorbell each week with a friendly face and a chat has broken the isolation that person has felt and given us the opportunity to really connect with them.”

“We’d like to thank JOY,” says Sarah Jane at Jewish Care, “for partnering with us on this great project, so that we could reach out to Holocaust survivors in the community, helping them to celebrate Shabbat.

“We couldn’t do it without our amazing volunteers who brighten their day with a visit and the Shabbat messages from the children that give the members a lift through the week.”

Combating loneliness and isolation

Jenny, founder of JOY, agrees: “It is about so much more than the challah. It is being able to make face to face contact and have people to talk to once again. This in itself is a means of combating loneliness and isolation.

“Thanks to Sharon Bakery for baking the challahs, as well as the marvellous local schools who are showing older people that they continue to thought about and cared about by all in their community.

“We’d like to thank City Bridge Trust for giving us the opportunity to run this wonderful Shabbat challah project with Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivor’s Centre.”


Adapted from an article first published in the Jewish Chronical. Funding was awarded as part of the London Community Response collaborative funding initiative co-ordinated by London Funders.

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