• Am Echad's purpose is to help specific people on a regular basis.

• Our sponsors know that their charitable investments benefit the ultimate "customers" — those in need — and don't get lost in red tape and bureaucracy.

• This is a volunteer effort, and there are no salaries paid, and no expenses other than for the delivery of the help to the people we sponsor.

• The information about those that are being supported, their photographs, their story, etc. is published in Am Echad newsletter and on the web site.

• An American sponsor supports one specific person or a family, or may remain anonymous, if desired.

• We offer the recipients to write letters to Am Echad, giving them an opportunity to communicate with their friends in the USA.

• The sponsors have the opportunity to write to those they help, providing them with moral support, and enriching the lives of their own families.

• The money donated by each sponsor is delivered directly to the needy.

• All records are open to the sponsors.

• Our newsletter provides the latest news, information about people being supported, monetary distribution reports, letters and photographs from Russia.

Our goal is to find the most needy elderly Jews in St. Petersburg and to provide them with financial assistance and moral support. In order to accomplish this, we work on a few tasks:

From a database of 37,000 elderly and disabled Jews in St. Petersburg we select the most needy based on the following criteria: the oldest disabled elderly with no relatives and living alone, and who have the lowest income.

Our two volunteers in St. Petersburg meet with every person on the list to evaluate their current situation and to verify their eligibility for Am Echad's assistance. Then they send a report to Am Echad, where the decision is being made. This process ensures that the assistance will be provided to the most needy.

During these visits the volunteers identify specific problems and help the elderly to resolve them, even if they do not become Am Echad's recipients.

After the eligibility decision is made, once a month Am Echad sends $50 to a single person, or $75 to a family of two. For this purpose we established a secure and transparent mechanism of delivering the money directly to the recipients.

If needed, our volunteers in St. Petersburg help the recipients to purchase the necessary medicine, to find a nurse, etc.

Many elderly suffer from loneliness and are happy to correspond with American families. We help them to find a friend in the U.S. to correspond with.

We try to do everything we can to make sure that the American Jewish community is aware of the extremely difficult situation for the elderly in Russia. We believe that once people know about the suffering of so many of their brethren, they would open their hearts, and the help would pour in.

It would be impossible to achieve the goal of assisting the needy elderly without the help of many volunteers who deserve a lot of credit and gratitude:

Rabbi Mendel Pewzner of St. Petersburg Grand Choral Synagogue, who provided crucial help in setting the assistance delivery infrastructure.

Raisa Scoblenok of St. Petersburg Grand Choral Synagogue, who works closely with Am Echad's recipients.

Katya H., Am Echad's volunteer in St. Petersburg, who visits the elderly and provides us with the necessary information to make the decision about eligibility. She spends a lot of time helping the recipients to obtain medical, nursing and domestic assistance. Katya is a computer programmer with M.S. degree in mathematics. She takes care of her two children and elderly mother, and she knows firsthand about the problems the elderly are facing.

Alex P., Am Echad's volunteer in St. Petersburg, who also visits the elderly. Alex is studying psychology at the St. Petersburg State University, where he has completed his junior year. He actively participates in community service as the duty operator at a hot-line for people seeking psychological help, and he is a junior instructor at a mountaineering club for high-school students.

Translators and editors, without whose help it would be impossible to publish the newsletter and to maintain this web site: Larry Cannon and Shelli Golden.

…and many others, who generously give their time, expertise and financial support to make sure that we can help as many needy elderly and handicapped as possible.

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