What has not been written about the coronavirus? Our lives will NEVER be the same, but how we deal with this virus will forever define generations to come. It reminds me of the 1962 song by Bob Dylan, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” which has been described by many as a protest song, and poses a series of rhetorical questions about peace, war, and freedom. Today, as we all know well, we are fighting a war against the coronavirus. We must all take precautions to protect ourselves and our families and friends in the fight against COVID-19, so social distancing is the new catch phrase.
This is the moment when, with your help, the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation best serves our community, as we have for 85 years. We are gathering and sharing information with you, coordinating our response to the community, and helping our agencies provide vital services during this emergency. We do all this to keep you and your family healthy and safe.
Below is a list of services/programs your Federation is offering the community:
BREAKING NEWS! Thanks to a generous grant from the Thomases Family Endowment of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation your donations to our Emergency Relief Fund will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000! All donations will stay local and allow us to quickly respond to pleas for help from our community. As the coronavirus continues to ravage our community, the strain on our resources will only grow. Your gift will support our agencies as they continue to provide critical services. Your help is essential. Please make your tax deductible donation by clicking here.
Jewish Federation & Community Hotline
Jewish Family Services and the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown have launched a hotline to connect people with mental health assistance and other resources. We have received numerous calls from people needing help with shopping and pick up of medications, as well as needing someone to talk with during this crisis. You can contact the Hotline at 330.406.9533 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jewish and Membership Outreach
Outreach calls are being made on a regular basis to all Jewish households and JCC members. This is a critical connection that is a MUST today and in the coming weeks to ensure our community has needed resources.
JCC Essential Worker Child Care
The JCC has received a Temporary Pandemic Child Care License from the State of Ohio, which is enabling us to provide child care for essential workers. We are providing child care for the children of workers at Heritage Manor, Levy Gardens, Mercy Health, COMPASS Family and Community Services, Park Vista of Youngstown, Meridian HealthCare, and others.
Click here to read an article about our Child Care Center.
In addition to our ongoing mobile meals program for eligible individuals in the community, JFS and JCC are partnering with Direction Home of Eastern Ohio to enable individuals in Mahoning and Northern Columbiana Counties, under the Older Americans Act and the Emergency Pandemic Order, to receive home delivery of frozen meals at no cost. They are able to provide five frozen meals a week to any adult over 60 years of age and to adults of any age who have a disabled child in their home.
Red Cross Blood Drive
On March 29, 55 people donated blood at a drive held at the JCC to help with a severe shortage during the COVID-19 crisis. If you wish to donate, contact the American Red Cross as the need is real.
Click here to read an article about the blood drive.
Our Federation is broadcasting live online content including Early Learning Center learning opportunities, fitness, music and dance classes, art classes, meditation and yoga classes, and more. Planning is underway for some community-wide performances in the coming weeks.
Click the image to visit the JCC Virtual Engagement page.
Jewish Community Relations Council
The JCRC is committed to being an advocate for our community during this crisis. Our JCRC is staying in constant contact with community leaders and public officials (local, national, and international) to monitor needs and exchange updates.
With the elimination of communal dining for residents, staffing has been increased at the Home, and includes 1:1 resident activities to ensure residents are socially/emotionally well and being cared for. Families are able to communicate with their loved ones through virtual visits via Zoom, Face Time, and Skype.
Admissions have been suspended until visitation limitations are lifted, since they are unable to allow the traffic of moving companies and families. Tenants are receiving mail from children as part of the GrandFriend Pen Pal program coordinated by JFS and the JCC.
Jewish Family Services
Counselors are speaking with regular and new clients by phone, including being available for staff Federation-wide as a result of COVID-19.
Emergency Relief Fund
The Federation’s Emergency Relief Fund is the best way for you to support our community during this time of crisis. Your dollars will enable us to provide the maximum amount of assistance at a time when the needs are greater than ever. With a single donation, the Federation can continue to meet critical needs, which will only continue to grow. Please click here to donate if you have not already done so.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said recently that we are “social distanced but spiritually connected.” As we prepare for Passover Seders that may be very different from our usual celebrations, those words continue to resonate. No matter what form Passover may take out of necessity, we can – and will – transcend our physical distance through our connection to one another, and Federation will be there every step of the way.
Wishing you a safe and “spiritually connected” Pesach.
Executive Vice-President, Youngstown Area Jewish Federation