JFS Perspectives

Monday, July 20, 2020

JFS Was There for Me When the Pandemic Struck



Candace Epperson moved to Denver in 2018 for a fresh start after her divorce. An experienced teacher, she found employment as a substitute for Denver Public Schools and local childcare centers. Since moving to Colorado, everything was lining up for a smooth transition…until March 12 when schools were forced to close due to COVID-19. Teachers were working remotely, and substitutes were not needed.

Candace applied for unemployment, but the system was overburdened, and she didn’t get the money in time to pay her rent. She wasn’t sure where to turn for help, as she’d never needed it before. “All of a sudden I’m out of work, living in a new place with no family, and I panicked,” Candace explains. “In Los Angeles, I worked for some large Jewish preschools and was familiar and comfortable with the Jewish community. I went to the sources I knew and contacted Jewish Family Service.” 

Candace Epperson

She met with Mitch, a Family Safety Net case manager, and received rent and utility assistance, food from the pantry, and many helpful community resources. “Every resource and contact led to someone else helping me, and I’m so grateful,” says Candace.

Candace is also working with our job coach, Heather, and attending our weekly virtual Career Launchpad classes. “The classes have been so valuable to not only learn new job search skills, but to connect with others who are in a similar situation. It’s comforting to know that others are experiencing anxiety like I am,” Candace says. Heather connected her with several useful resources and helped her rediscover her passion for cooking. “I’ve always liked to cook, but never pursued it as a career,” says Candace. “While I’ve been home the last few months, I’ve been cooking a lot more. Heather told me about a 23-day culinary program through Work Options for Women, which I’m excited to start soon and see where it leads.”

“I was really embarrassed to ask for help, but everyone at JFS has been amazing,” Candace says with a smile. “Now I feel hopeful about my future. I hold my head high and proudly share my story with others on the virtual classes.”

META DESCRIPTION: ​An experienced teacher, Candace was kept busy as a substitute for Denver Public Schools and local childcare centers. Everything was going well…until March 12 when schools were forced to close due to COVID-19. Teachers were working remotely and substitutes were not needed. See how JFS helped her get through this crisis.