NEW YORK (Dec. 3)
An official of Self-Help Community Services said today that the organization expects an initial payment of $50,000 next week from heavyweight champion Muhamad All on his promise to give between $100,000 and $150,000 to enable a geriatric center serving mainly handicapped Jews in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan to continue to operate for another year.
Prior to the champion’s promise of the gift, the Hillside Aged Program Center had been scheduled to shut down on Dec. 31 because funds of the sponsoring agency had run out. Self-Help, a non-sectarian agency originally chartered to aid victims of Nazi persecution, still gets some reparations funds from the West German government.
Larry Matloff, executive director of Self-Help Community Services, also told the Jewish Tele- graphic Agency that his organization was uncertain as to whether All intended to provide a total gift of $100,000 or $150,000, adding that the champion had mentioned both figures.
All was in New York to attend a party at the United Nations given by the United Arab Emirates last night. At the party he tried to minimize his gift offer, saying he had a “soft spot” for old people, “especially the handicapped.”
All’s interest in the geriatric center was reported to have stemmed from his seeing a televised report that the Hillside Aged program would have to close because the sponsoring agency had been unable to raise the estimated $100,000 needed for another year of operation. All went to the geriatric center yesterday and spent some 90 minutes there. Mrs. Maria Brown, director of the center, called the event “really extraordinary.”
Matloff said the Self-Help board voted to set up the geriatric center in 1974 with a gift of $50,000 from an out-of-state organization, similar in program to that of the Self-Help agency, which was slowing down its activities. He said that organization decided to turn over to Self-Help a remaining fund of $50,000 to use as it saw fit. With additional funds from other sources, the Self-Help Agency decided to set up a center in Washington Heights because a large number of Nazi survivors live there.
Mrs. Brown said most of the 54 users of the center are Jews and most, though not all, are survivors of the Nazi holocaust, Requirements for admission are that applicants must be over 50, and handicapped. All are homebound to a degree, Kosher meals are provided at the center.