When COVID-19 first hit in March, Jewish Federation responded quickly and distributed more than $500,000 in emergency targeted funding to address urgent community needs during the first weeks of impact. While we continue to assess the long-term needs of the community, we want to highlight the great results starting to come in from our partners.
Jewish Family Services
The need for critical social services has never been greater. We provided $170,000 to help with food security, housing support, seniors and counselling services. Here is a snapshot of the difference these funds have made so far:
- Community Care Hotline: Together with Jewish Family Services (JFS), we helped launch the Community Care Hotline shortly after COVID-19 hit. More than 380 calls have been received so far, and the professionals staffing the hotline have devoted more than 440 hours to help people with food security concerns (80%) or to provide counselling and friendly phone visits (20%).
- Food and groceries: To date, 2,815 meals and bags of fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes and dairy products have been delivered, including 300 meals for Passover.
- Staff support: We have also seconded two Jewish Federation staff members – one full-time and one half-time—to help the JFS team coordinate hundreds of volunteers and food deliveries.
Food Security in Richmond
We provided $6,500 to support food security in Richmond through a collaboration between the Kehila Society of Richmond, Chabad of Richmond and Beth Tikvah. By working together, they are ensuring that community members in Richmond have ongoing access to kosher food.
- More than 800 Shabbat and Seder meals have been delivered.
- Many bottles of hand sanitizer and facemasks have been distributed to help keep people safe.
Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver
The Jewish Community Centre (JCC) has continued to provide online programs and services for different age groups to foster engagement and keep people connected. Jewish Federation provided $130,000 in emergency funding to enable them to continue to offer this programming. Here is how it has been used to date:
- Tech support to help 300 seniors and other JCC members with computer issues to ensure they can access the JCC’s wide array of online programs and stay connected to community.
- Weekly calls to more than 40 Inclusion program participants with diverse needs. JCC staff has been in regular contact with them to engage in friendly conversation and offer support.
- Zooming with youth and teens: Staff have continued to serve young people with diverse abilities through their Gesher program by leading weekly sessions on Zoom to talk about coping with COVID-19, to play games that engage participants’ cognitive skills, and to enjoy time together.
- JCC Daycare: Jewish Federation is supporting subsidies for families who need help keeping their children in care so they can work, and for those experiencing financial challenges due to a change in their employment status.
This is just the start. As COVID-19’s long-term impact on our community becomes clear, more funds will be needed. We recognize that the impact of the pandemic will be felt for some time, and that each of us will have a role to play in the community’s recovery.