“Don’t reject me in my old age. Don’t forsake me when my strength fails.” This lyric verse from the book of Psalms reminds us that as we age, grow weaker and slower and, perhaps, lose our ability to live independently, we still deserve to be respected, accepted and loved. Contemporary Western culture sanctifies youth and the rapid pace of technological development leaves many of us behind. This situation is exacerbated by increasing life expectancy, often with insufficient resources; tragically, growing numbers of senior citizens are unable to age gracefully.
As an organization that nurtures and promotes quality of life, CBI decided to do something for this segment of society by “adopting” solitary seniors and making their domiciles brighter, safer and healthier.
We began with a generous donation from a philanthropic foundation and effectively doubled it by enlisting resources from additional partners who shared our belief in this heartwarming project. Together, we set out to make a difference. The selection process was difficult: the demand for assistance far outstripped supply. With the help of CBI branch managers, familiar with their local communities and populations, we chose the ten neediest recipients, giving priority to lone seniors, some of them survivors of the horrors of the Holocaust. Living in shocking conditions, on the lowest socioeconomic level, their homes were crumbling and dilapidated homes – with cracked, peeling walls; decrepit kitchens without cupboards; broken toilets, showers and faucets; windows without glass and broken doors…
We rolled up our sleeves – a determined team of contractors working together with CBI volunteers, happy for the opportunity to contribute and help. We carried out complete renovations — repairing and refurbishing kitchens, replacing sinks, countertops, cupboards and tiles; repairing and sealing cracked walls; replacing windows and doors; repairing and refurbishing bathrooms; and, painting walls in light, cheerful colors. As a final touch, we did some interior decorating, adding potted plants and colorful accessories – often donated by members of the renovation team — to create a warm, homey atmosphere.
The project was carried out nationwide – in Kiryat Bialik, Tiberias, Holon, Bat Yam and Rishon Letzion. This month, we completed the final home, in Beer Sheva. It was touching to see the reactions of the seniors when they saw their renovated homes and their smiles when they found everything in place and working properly. A sense of satisfaction and joy also enveloped everyone involved – the satisfaction and joy of giving that is also receiving.