Aid charity chief celebrates £10m milestone
THE FOUNDER of a grass-roots matchmaking venture launched in Orthodox shuls over the High Holy Days has expressed disappointment at the pickiness of men over 40 who responded.
Daniela Pears, Mitzvah Day’s interfaith chair, said that around 8,000 leaflets promoting the We Go Together initiative were placed in the men’s seating areas of more than a dozen London area shuls.
The take-up was encouraging and a number have since been interviewed by members of the project’s network of volunteers with a view to finding them a match from a growing database of single women.
Mrs Pears reported that female applicants aged 40 and above outnumbered male respondents by 85 to 32.
“In the over-40 group, we have had to close applications [for women] because we don’t want to disappoint anyone.
“The men are going for younger women —sometimes 20-plus years younger. But we don’t have young women wanting men 20 years older than them.
“We’ve got lots of really great women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and even 70s. We just need the men to match them with.”
The project has recently opened a Facebook page, with posts targeting younger men in particular, promoting the service as an alternative to dating apps. And there has been greater parity between the sexes among respondents in their late 20s and 30s.
“I imagine they’re getting cheesed off with [dating app] J-Swipe. They’re looking for something more meaningful.
“But we’ve seen some men not go through with dates, which is a shame because we put in the hard work matching people.
“I would just ask them to trust us. Sometimes when you meet someone there’s a chemistry and sometimes there isn’t. But you don’t know before you’ve tried.”
We don’t have women wanting men 20 years older’
ROSALIND BLUESTONE set up Goods for Good three years ago to supply refugees in camps worldwide with essential items.
Now the charity the Borehamwood resident runs single-handedly has reached the £10 million milestone in donated goods — and supported one million people in need.
“I had worked for World Jewish Relief for 12 years helping to deliver its humanitarian aid projects,” Mrs Bluestone, 63, explained. “I just knew I couldn’t sit around and watch what was happening to refugees all over the world.
“We send fit-for-purpose goods to refugees who need them.”
The charity has co-ordinated donations from 65 UK companies, sending almost 200 consignments to countries including Ukraine, Moldova, Israel, Syria, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
“A camp in Erbil [Iraqi Kurdistan] was able to set up a football team with the products we sent them. It is small thing but it makes a difference.”
Yet there were many more people in urgent need of support. “To think of mothers without blankets or nappies for their babies is unimaginable.”