Caring for the Elderly

Elderly Palestinian Womanby Mary Witherspoon

At the end of June, Pal Craftaid will wrap up a focused funding-raising campaign for Aid to the Aged or ATTA, an organization that ministers to elderly Palestinians who have few resources. For ATTA’s clients, the assistance and the warm friendships make all the difference between lonely uncertainty and the knowledge that they are loved and cared for.

ATTA, sponsored by the Arab Orthodox Society, provides physical and emotional care as it builds relationships among the elderly poor in a society that is divided by checkpoints, poor roads and diminished resources and where families are separated by occupation and immigration.

Just over a year ago, members of Pal Craftaid’s Board of Directors visited Taybeh in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, where ATTA operates a site. Taybeh is a small town, not far from Jerusalem, but going from town to town by car is difficult since new roads are often for Israelis only and delays are frequent because of checkpoints. It can be very difficult in these circumstances for adult children to care for aging parents, particularly when the economic situation is dire. And there is no such thing as Social Security.

At the gathering, you might expect to hear complaints, to have conversations about how bad life can be. But when we arrived, we were greeted with smiles and hugs. Pal Craftaid has supported ATTA for many years, and several people in our delegation had visited before, including board president Carol Hylkema, and founders Liz Knott and Connie DePond. Strong ties have been formed. In fact, one distinguished woman remembered Carol from a previous visit and asked about a photo Carol had taken then.

The partnership between Pal Craftaid and the elderly people who gather monthly to enjoy fellowship is meaningful – not just a link on paper. Those who are unable to gather receive regular visits from doctors and social workers who do their best to see that basic needs are met. In this difficult economy, these professionals often continue their good work even when there are no funds for their salaries.

I hope that you will join me in supporting this much-needed and much appreciated ministry which provides for many people who otherwise would have little joy in their lives.

Your contribution will help to provide nursing care, visits by social workers, food relief and community support for ATTA’s work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Checks may be made payable to Pal Craftaid and sent to Virginia Priest, 3520 N. 30th St., Tacoma, WA 98407. And now, you can Donate online! Contributions should be postmarked by June 30, 2012. Donations and gifts are tax deductible.