While the start of our annual High Holidays offers some comforting predictability, the uncertainty of COVID-19 continues to loom large, impacting the thousands of community members who rely on the services and programs funded by the Annual Campaign and the partner agencies who provide them.
The pandemic has hit every aspect of our community. The needs are the same, only multiplied exponentially—from the demand for food assistance increasing fourfold, to community members unable to pay their rent, to families seeking support in order to stay engaged in Jewish life.
Isolation: COVID’s Hidden Challenge
On an individual level, each of us has also been affected in varying ways, some of which are not readily visible. One ‘hidden’ effect of COVID-19 is the increasing sense of isolation that community members are experiencing:
- Many seniors haven’t left their homes in months; others may now be forced to choose between seeing their grandchildren who have returned to school or staying safe in their own homes;
- Many young adults are anxious about the future and their careers, finding it challenging to do all of their studies online and feeling apart from their friends;
- Families are struggling to juggle the demands of everyday life, some with significant loss of income and concerns about childcare and the psychological impact of COVID-19 on their children;
- Individuals who live alone or with underlying medical conditions are trying to cope with reduced social interaction and difficulties accessing outside support; and
- People without technological resources are having a hard time staying connected and accessing vital online services.
These are just a few examples. It is not always obvious when people are having a difficult time—it could be your great aunt, next door neighbour, child’s principal or dear friend. What we do know is that feelings of isolation often go hand-in-hand with hopelessness, shame and despair. Mental health experts suggest that 50% of Canadians have experienced some level of depression since the onset of the pandemic.
Together We Are Stronger
As a community, we have always come together to support those in need, and with your help, we can lessen the load for hundreds of community members who are carrying the weight of extreme isolation.
When you give through the Federation Annual Campaign, you are supporting critical social services offered by our partner agencies that help alleviate isolation. This includes counselling for vulnerable individuals who need emotional and physical support, friendly phone calls to socially isolated seniors, and food assistance programs for families worried about their next meal.
During this time of crisis, we are asking those who are able to consider increasing their gift to the Annual Campaign and to make a one-time contribution of 19% to the Community Recovery Fund, which will be used to address services and programs impacted by COVID-19. Every gift will go where it is needed most.
You can make a secure online gift at jewishvancouver.com/donate or call us at 604 257 5100.