Shirley Levinson, 94, has been knocking on the doors of Wizo supporters for Jewish Women’s Week donations since 1951.
And with Covid restrictions lifted, she is again doing the rounds in her North London locality, as are some 750 other collectors around the UK.
Supporting Wizo’s welfare work in Israel, Jewish Women’s Week is the sole Home Office-authorised Jewish door-to-door collection.
It has raised £11 million over 75 years, with Mrs Levinson involved virtually from the outset, initially helping her mother, the then secretary of East London Wizo, collect from council flats in the area.
She remains a passionate Women’s Week advocate, collecting from around 30 houses and part of a local JWW team of 30.
“I love collecting for Jewish Women’s Week as it gives me the chance to meet people and remind them about what Wizo stands for and what Wizo is doing,” she said.
“I enjoy checking up on our supporters and their families each year and showing that Wizo cares about them.”
She had found it difficult during lockdown when collectors could only post letters through people’s doors. “I really missed that personal connection. Knocking on doors each year also keeps me fit at the same time.”
Her patch is now in Cockfosters and takes in “anyone my local JWW captain asks me to visit. I have been knocking on the doors of the same people for many years but sometimes new names are added as they move into the area.”
Seventy-five years ago, campaign supporters paid with notes and coins. Over time, this has changed to cheques, credit cards, online payments and now QR codes on mobile phones.
Wizo endeavours “to ensure that we keep our connection with the original campaign but move it forward to make it as easy as possible for our supporters to donate”.
Since lockdown, increasing numbers are donating online and collectors can now take QR code payments. The charity also posts thousands of letters to donors by post.
Meanwhile, Mrs Levinson’s Wizo connection is continuing as her granddaughters are all members.