Polish Assistance History
We are rich in tradition and generous in compassion
Today, a new generation of philanthropic Polish Americans is upholding the tradition of providing assistance to individuals who are at risk or in crisis due to poverty, mental or physical illness. The passage of time has caused the majority of the current aid recipients to be immigrants more recent than the post-WW II political refugees.
Your support enables our organization to bring stability to these individuals by providing basic needs for housing, food and healthcare and allows our elderly to live out their years with dignity.
Polish Assistance provides financial support to needy persons of Polish origin who are facing unforeseen hardships. Beneficiaries receive assistance in meeting daily expenses, usually to supplement low social security payments or to cover extraordinary medical bills. Recipients also include the homeless, those in need of medical treatment, and handicapped people who are unable to care for themselves.
Once an applicant becomes our beneficiary, we are usually committing often to his/her support for their remaining lifetime as most of our recipients have little chance for quality of life improvement. In many cases, these individuals are seniors with serious health issues that have no means of supporting themselves. We also provide assistance to patients in a “long term acute care hospital”, the city’s safety-net provider of healthcare services.
Each applicant goes through an initial review process and is re approved annually. The official poverty guideline starts at $12,140 per person and $16,460 for a family of two. We sadly report that most applicants meet these criteria. To accomplish this, Polish Assistance solicits donations through dues, donations and a series of fundraising activities.
Polish Assistance was incorporated with the aim of giving financial aid to Polish immigrants, especially the elderly. As opposed to the economically driven mass migration of a century ago, the 100,000 Poles, who arrived here during and immediately after World War II, were individuals who found themselves in Western Europe in its aftermath. They had no wish to return to their country on which the Soviet Union had imposed the communist system. Most of them were ex-military, but there were also government officials, educators, writers and artists. The older ones especially found it difficult to adapt to their new circumstances.
Polish Assistance proceeded to own and operate three homes in New Jersey for elderly Polish immigrants of limited means. Under the aegis of the presidency of Teresa Sulimirski and subsequently Jadwiga Palade, the focus of Polish Assistance changed from providing group homes for elderly Poles to direct assistance to individuals. Since its inception, Polish Assistance has eased the lives of many people.
Unfortunately, in the long run Polish Assistance lacked the wherewithal to meet rising expectations of space and comfort – and to comply with the ever-changing costly requirements of local authorities. The houses were thus gradually liquidated in the years 1992 – 1998.
Even though the main aim of Polish Assistance is to help Poles in America, it was felt in 1989 that with the fall of communism in Poland many of them would doubtless want to live out their lives in their native land. With that in mind, a suitable property was purchased in Milanowek near Warsaw and the home was opened by Countess Dembinski on May 3, 1992. Sadly, she died suddenly two days later at her home in New York, knowing that her last objective had been achieved. Regrettably, for number of reasons, including age and reluctance of the elderly to move to a totally changed country, the founder’s hopes were not fulfilled. Use of the home by local people created various tax and legal problems, as a result of which it was decided to donate the property to a Polish Foundation for the Blind.