Critical Help for Seniors Below the Poverty Level

The following press release was issued on February 9, 2012.  Read about an incredible program HOT has created to dramatically impact the lives of impoverished seniors.  You can also hear the voice of one person who called to share how much the help has meant to her.

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South Palm Beach County images of lushly landscaped gated communities may make it difficult to believe that among us are seniors trying to live on incomes far below the poverty level. But, thanks to a local charity, things got just a little easier for 131 such Delray Beach and Boca Raton seniors, who have been clients of Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service (JFS).

Thanks to the generosity of Hands On Tzedakah (HOT), these seniors, whose incomes are 50% to 75% below the Federal Poverty Level, are now receiving monthly merchandise cards to cover non-food essentials such as prescription co-pays and personal care items. HOT is a Boca Raton-based charity that provides basic safety net assistance to those whose needs would otherwise go unmet. The cards are purchased at a discount to stretch the donated funds as far as possible.

“It’s hard to imagine that some of the seniors in our community are surviving on less than $7,000 a year,” said Danielle Hartman, JFS President and CEO. “These are our neighbors, many of whom may have never worked or worked at low wage jobs throughout their adult lives and receive minimal, if any, social security.”

“JFS was already taking care of their nutritional needs, but beyond food there are so many basic necessities of life that seniors at this level must often go without,” said Ron Gallatin, Chairman and CEO of HOT. “We wanted to make sure that they had a monthly supplement so there is never a month, never a week, and never a day that one of these local seniors is unable to buy one of life’s basic necessities.”

After receiving her first card, Judy left an unsolicited tearful message for JFS, unmistakably expressing what this “gift” means for her, “You don’t know how you made my day. I never go shopping because I never have anything to spend. I wear old clothing and I hardly ever buy any medications because I don’t want to spend the money. I can use my card for clothing, medication or personal supplies. What a beautiful gift you’ve given me.”

Click on the play button (triangle) below to hear Judy’s message:

A non-profit, non-sectarian agency, Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service of South Palm Beach County has been committed to providing help, hope and humanity for people of all ages and beliefs throughout the community since 1979. With locations in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, JFS programs and services include food and financial assistance, senior services, counseling and mental health services and many volunteer opportunities. For more information, visit, phone 561-852-3333 or E-mail:

Hands On Tzedakah (HOT), a nonprofit public charity, reaches out to individuals in need by supporting programs that fall below the radar screen of traditional funding. HOT’s major focus is to support “safety-net” or essential, life-sustaining programs that combat hunger, poverty, homelessness and illness, as well as human service projects that address quality-of-life issues such as health and mental wellness, support to victims of terror, or assist those living with economically disadvantages, disabilities, abuse, illness or advanced age. For more information about HOT, or to make contributions to permit us to expand this program, visit or E-mail

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