By The Jerusalem Post

Thousands of pairs of eyeglasses were distributed to elderly Holocaust survivors throughout the country as gifts by volunteers of Helping Hand Coalition (Yad Ezra in Israel). 

It has been 74 years since the end of World War II, and the average age of the survivors living in Israel is 83 years old, mostly from Eastern European countries.

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Of the approximately 170,000 Holocaust survivors living today in Israel around a quarter of them live below the poverty line.

Thousands of the senior survivors have gifted the new glasses – contributed by the activists and volunteers of Helping Hand Coalition, aided by optometrists who fitted the sight and reading glasses to the recipients. There will be thousands of holiday gift baskets of food and consumer items distributed for needy survivors for the upcoming High Holy Days and Sukkot holiday by the organization to provide the basic staples for the holiday season and allow them to celebrate with dignity..

"There is nothing quite like the happiness and contentment of elderly Holocaust survivors whose vision quality suddenly returns to them after years because they simply did not have the money or ability to purchase eyeglasses. This moving experience always reverberates anew," says Luc Gasiorowski, managing director of Helping Hand,  which has just now distributed eyeglasses to needy survivors. 

The distribution campaign took about a month to complete, concentrating on optometry centers in the north and mobile points as well, including Haifa and surrounding towns, Netanya, Akko, Kiryat Nordau and others.

Helping Hand is a foundation which concentrates on improving the lives of Holocaust survivors
  seeing to their basic needs,  helping them receive their full entitlements – throughout Israel. It runs the Warm Home Project with centers in 25 locations through local authorities, where survivors can receive a hot meal in a homely social atmosphere. Items of clothing are also made available, food coupons are distributed, survivors are able to document their wartime experiences, receive medical attention and get to experience a bar mitzvah if they were unable to celebrate the milestone during their wartime childhoods.

Additionally, there is assistance to the survivors and help for them to participate in the March of the Living, and also a joint Lone Soldiers Project with soldiers in the IDF serving in the north of the country, along with many other projects.

Helping Hand has been operating for many years 'under the radar' of communications media from Shalom House 
 – a beautiful villa in Caesarea dedicated to the welfare and visits of Holocaust survivors only. The impressive villa serves as a meeting place and offers many classes, lectures, workshops, performances, concerts and cultural events throughout the year for many thousands of survivors living throughout Israel.

The organization was founded by the philanthropist and businessman Andr
è Gasiorowski. and is managed by his son Luc Gasiorowski together with a professional and dedicated staff working in their Caesarea base on projects throughout Israel all dedicated to aiding Holocaust survivors. 

Helping Hand is a modest but outstanding example of a small organization performing important social action. It works in cooperation with the government and many other organizations with the purpose of aiding Holocaust survivors who live among us in Israel, particularly where there is a humanitarian need.

Just recently the foundation decided to make public its activities in order to broaden its scope and increase their ability to help a wider population of Holocaust survivors, at their place of residence and also to enable more to enjoy the activities on offer in their Caesarea center.




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