JFS Perspectives

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Caring for Our Community During the COVID-19 Crisis



Caring for Our Community During the COVID-19 Crisis

While our physical locations are closed and programs have been canceled, we are serving more people than ever during this pandemic. Thank you to our incredible staff who is working tirelessly and in creative ways to serve the community through a variety of services. Below are a few highlights of our COVID-19 response:

  • With the help of hundreds of dedicated volunteers, we are distributing hundreds of pre-packed food boxes at our drive-up food pantry and delivering food to homebound individuals. In just three weeks of this modified pantry operation, we’ve served 5,102 individuals from 1,395 households with 65,565 pounds of food, diapers, hygiene products, and pet food. For comparison, we average 35-40 households per day under normal operations, so our COVID-19 response represents a 200% increase in vulnerable families being served.
  • Thanks to our partnership with JEWISHcolorado and JCC Denver, Shalom Park, and VOA, we are distributing and delivering kosher lunches and pantry boxes to more than 60 older Jewish adults each week.
  • Our mental health therapists are providing telehealth sessions to adults, children, refugees, and individuals or families in the community, helping them feel connected and supported.
  • Aging Care & Connections staff members and volunteers are calling our 450 older adult clients to check in and picking up groceries, prescriptions, and other household so they can safely stay in their homes.
  • We’re providing financial assistance to those in need throughout Colorado by processing payments directly to vendors for mortgage and rent payments, utilities (water, heat, gas and electricity), and prescriptions/medicine.

Please continue reading to see just a few examples of stories we’re hearing from staff and people receiving our services. Thank you to the wonderful volunteers, community partners, individuals, and families who are supporting us through financial contributions, food and diaper donations, and time.

Passover Distribution

Passover distributionYesterday, 100 Denver households received boxes filled with everything they need to make a complete Passover Seder. Those who could not pick up the boxes had food delivered to them. Thank you to those who generously donated money or food for this program!In addition, we are providing kosher-for-Passover lunches every weekday during the holiday to 35 older adults. These are distributed in the parking lot of the JCC and delivered to homebound individuals. Funding was made possible by JEWISHcolorado and its COVID Response Fund.

Thank you to the Boulder community, Boulder JCC, and Boulder JFS, 70 older adults in Boulder also received a “Passover in a Box” this week.

Every day we are hearing heartwarming stories from our staff and volunteers about the services we’re providing. Below are a few examples. Be sure to follow us on social media and check out blog for more stories in the coming weeks.

Weinberg Food Pantry

Drive-up food pantryWe are distributing boxes of food to more than 100 households every day at our drive-up food pantry.Many of these individuals have lost their jobs and never needed help before. Some work in the restaurant industry, relying mainly on tips, and no longer have money coming in. Others are picking up food for their neighbors or homebound family members. Teachers and principals are getting food for students who rely on free lunches when school is in session. One man expressed his gratitude saying, “When God gives you struggles, JFS is there to help. I have two growing boys and just could not wrap my head around how I would feed them.”

JFS at the JCC Kosher Lunch Program

Our staff received this email from a grateful recipient of daily kosher lunch deliveries: “The lunch program is working out great! The food being served has been really good. You are even delivering soup. I wanted to thank you for providing me the meals while I'm required to remain at the home because of my lung and heart issues.”

Aging Care & Connections Counseling

At the end of a recent counseling session, a client who struggles with depression shared that she appreciated the session and was relieved to know she would be talking to her counselor. It is important for clients to stay connected to their therapist during this tumultuous time.

Mental Health Specialists and Refugee Mental Health

We quickly implemented telehealth for our therapists to conduct video and phone sessions with their clients. Our counselors have shared how grateful and relieved the clients are to continue to “see” the therapists during this crisis. When the video comes up there is often a lot of clapping and smiling. These sessions help everyone feel connected and reminded that we are in this together.

KidSuccess School-Based Therapy

Our school-based therapists have been connecting with students through telehealth as well. One therapist shares, “An overwhelming number of students tell me they are so happy to see me via telehealth because they miss school, their friends, and their teachers. Plus, the students have really enjoyed showing me their rooms and personal spaces since we don't have access to those pieces of their lives while at school.” Another therapist said she has had great conversations about communication styles and other issues that arise with all family members in the household, rather than only working with the student.

SHALOM Denver

Although the ACE: Arts and Community Exploration program is currently closed, staff has been calling clients and emailing craft projects, which have been well-received. Twenty-seven individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are working with SHALOM staff via phone and video to receive job development, coaching, and mentorship services.

 

Help us continue to provide these services to individuals and families throughout Colorado, many of whom are isolated and alone during this scary time. When they receive nourishing food, counseling, and check-in calls, they feel more connected, safer, and reassured. Your gift will be matched up to $100,000!

 


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