Five-hundred World Jewish Relief supporters learned on Monday about the grinding poverty experienced by many of its clients.
As part of WJR's annual dinner - held at London's Guildhall and raising more than £1.3 million - a film was screened on the charity's home repair programme in the former Soviet Union.
It featured 74-year old Luisa Nomirovskaya, who lives alone in a condemned house in Ukraine.
"I didn't even have a bathroom," she said. "The only toilet I have is a small dirty hole in the yard. But now, thanks to you, the builders are here. I'm going to have a proper toilet and additional repairs on my house. When I discovered WJR's programme, I understood what it meant to be part of the Jewish family."
The dinner was hosted by journalist Jonathan Freedland, who said he was proud to call himself a supporter of WJR, "a charity that challenges the causes of poverty and gets on with the task of making critical parts of our Jewish world a fairer, less vulnerable place".
New WJR chair James Libson spoke of "groundbreaking programmes to lift families out of the poverty trap. Through our Livelihood Development Programme, vulnerable people are being provided with training to help them find work. It truly embodies the highest level of Jewish giving - a gift that ensures the recipient no longer needs to rely on charity."