Without you, I wouldn’t be alive.
Tatiana is 86 years old, frail, and home bound. Despite her physical limitations, she is lively and affectionate, and thrilled to have visitors. Lori Fritz, 2014 Community Campaign Chair, met Tatiana on a mission to Minsk. “She was excited to share her story with us, one that is tragically shared by thousands of elderly Russians,” explains Lori. Tatiana’s mother died when she was just a baby, and her father was killed during World War II. Her stepmother abandoned her, and she lived in an orphanage until her brother rescued her. They moved to the Ural region where they faced a life of poverty, collecting and selling coiled metal to earn money for food. Tatiana has little to her name today, but what she does have wouldn’t be possible without support from the Minneapolis Jewish Community. Her monthly government pension doesn’t cover the cost of food, medications, and utilities.
Through programs run by the Federation’s partners the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency for Israel, Tatiana receives:
- medical support for her diabetes, heart condition, and pancreatitis
- home care services
- a caregiver to do her grocery shopping using a stipend from the Jewish community
- warm sweaters, blankets, and heating fuel for the bitter Minsk winters
- hope and a reason to remain positive despite her hardships
Tatiana shares an apartment with a young couple who have made it clear that they are basically waiting for her to die, Lori reports. They don’t want to see her and they have been known to take Tatiana’s food. In response, JDC provided Tatiana with a small refrigerator with a lock on it that she can keep in her room.
“Without you, Tatiana says, “I wouldn’t be alive.”