Caring in the Age of Coronavirus

 

We’re all feeling the uncertainty and anxiety of this moment and are grateful to belong to a community that cares for one another. 

 

As we move through the days and possibly weeks ahead, Federation is implementing a system for any member of the community to receive or provide a helping hand.

 
For community members who are at high-risk, in self-quarantine or just not feeling well, we are here to offer a little extra TLC. Whether you need a delivery of food or supplies, would like to set up a weekly (or daily) check-in call, or might enjoy a "virtual friendly visit", we have community volunteers who are able and ready to help. We can also arrange a supportive conversation with a Rabbi or our community social worker.
 
If you don't need help but are able and willing to volunteer to help someone else, we need you too!
 
Let's stay healthy and safe together!

An Open Letter to Our Community

 

As a valued friend and supporter of the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires you have invested in strengthening our community, and it is that strength that is helping us help our community navigate this unprecedented crisis.

 

It is precisely during a crisis like this that Federation’s role as a vital community resource becomes crystal clear. Here are some of the critical ways your generous support is enabling us to build community resilience and help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic: 

 

PROTECTING THE MOST VULNERABLE

 

  • Regular kosher lunch program participants are now receiving kosher hot meals delivered directly to their homes. In addition, we have identified a large and growing list of vulnerable individuals who have limited supports in place. We are ensuring that they receive assistance -- ranging from weekly check-in calls, deliveries of food and supplies, virtual friendly visits and even spiritual support if needed -- all provided by Federation volunteers, our social worker, and various clergy.

 

  • We are expanding our outreach to hundreds more community members and have created an online system through which anyone can request assistance with whatever they might need. We have mobilized a growing list of volunteers, many of whom are already responding requests. If you or someone you know needs assistance, please let us know.

 

  • We are evaluating our emergency assistance and Hebrew Free Loan reserves in preparing to distribute assistance, as needed. We will soon be mobilizing additional resources to address emerging needs in our Jewish community and in the broader Berkshire community. Please stay tuned.

 

 

CONNECTING AND SUPPORTING COMMUNITY

 

  • We are providing Grab-and-Go kosher for Passover seder meals, with resources to help people find meaning and connection in what will certainly be a different kind of Passover celebration this year.

 

  • We are curating and sharing weekly opportunities for virtual worship, learning, concerts, and family fun in collaboration with our local congregations, national partners, PJ Library, and our Afula-Gilboa Partnership2Gether.

 

  • Our PJ Library kids are busy creating “Happy Day” cards, which we are sending to hundreds of older adults who are isolated in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

 

  • We are hosting weekly leadership meet-ups to share resources, coordinate assistance and brainstorm next steps as the situation evolves. Together, we are working to address our community’s most pressing needs, maintaining our strength and unity, and planning for the future.   

 

Many have asked us: “What can I do to help? As a Jewish Federation of the Berkshires donor, you have already done so much. We would not be able to respond to this crisis in a comprehensive way without your past generosity.

 

On behalf of our entire community, thank you!  

 

If you are interested in volunteering to help vulnerable community members access groceries or other essentials, or if you would like to donate to our relief and recovery effort, please visit us at jewishberkshires.org or give us a call at (413) 442-4360, ext 12.

 

Our community is strong and we will get through this together. If you have additional ideas or suggestions on how the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires can help you or our community, please do not hesitate to connect with us.

 

On behalf of the Board and staff, I wish you and your loved ones good health, strength, and resilience in the days and weeks ahead.

 

Shabbat Shalom,

Judy Usow, President

Dara Kaufman, Executive Director