May 22, 2020
JFS News: Emergent Work Demands an Organization-Wide Effort
From Lino Covarrubias, CEO
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
It is hard to believe that it has been ten weeks since JFS took on the challenge of responding to the unprecedented effect on our community from the COVID-19 pandemic. I am incredibly proud of the impact our dedicated staff, volunteers, and partners have had on the lives of the most vulnerable among us, particularly isolated older adults and immigrant families with young children.
We are able to do this work thanks to the fantastic support that you provided us during our very first Virtual Seize the Dream Gala. What a success! Although we missed seeing you in person, we were able to record the event and can continue to share its message. Please circulate the video below far and wide. The need in the community remains high. We need the support of generous people like you to continue our important response. Thank you again for your generosity.
Our response has been truly an agency-wide effort. I do, however, want to give a special shout out to some volunteers and staff members who have, over the last ten weeks, been out in the community despite the coronavirus health threat.
One group I would like to highlight – the volunteers who have delivered meals to isolated older adults in the Jewish and broader community. It takes a special type of person to go into harm’s way and, with the utmost in compassion and care, deliver meals to those in need. Thank you Emily Bishop, Erin Condon, Audrey Epstein, David Kunen, Dru Lindgren, Josh Lutch, Shanita Malcom, Jenna Orlinsky, Lesley Orlinsky, Ann Rabinovitz, Amy Raddant, and Amy Siegel for your assistance.
Please consider joining this special group of volunteers – click on the following link to sign up: https://jfsofmetrowest.wufoo.com/forms/jfs-volunteerinternship-interest-form/
Our Jewish anti-poverty program (API) team continues to amaze me with how rapidly they can take on the most challenging cases and achieve success. We are fortunate our program, that was started during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, is well staffed, trained, and resourced with the right tools. In particular, a special shout out to staff members Abrielle Salloway who has been working tirelessly to attend to the needs of families in crisis during this difficult period, and Joanne Kane who has been packaging and delivering emergency supplies to isolated older adults in our community through the JFS food pantry.
And, we continue to thank our collaborative partner, Combined Jewish Philanthropies ( CJP), for their support of this important work. Click here for a link to community resources complied by CJP and click here for a great article from Forward to learn what some of the local Jewish agencies have done to fight poverty and homelessness.
I am also especially grateful to our staff “Special Operations Squad”. They have delivered over 10,000 meals and over 15,000 pieces of hygiene/toiletries products in the last ten weeks. They are my Ghost Busters – they answer the call and head out in the JFS van at a moment’s notice. Thank you Danny Woodward, Maggie Kenney, Manuel Sayán, Anniey Michelson, and Natalie Pesino for your commitment.
Our food delivery and food distribution wouldn’t be possible without the incredible team at Daniel’s Table. They have long been friends and partners to JFS but the level to which they have stepped up in this crisis has been truly incredible. Thank you to David and Alicia Blais, Sandra Montesino, Tom O’Reilly, and Jason Torres for your tireless efforts in feeding our clients and the Framingham community. And many thanks to staff member Gail Gregory for all she does to keep this train running smoothly.
And a huge thank you to our over 24 homecare workers that, day in day out, go into the homes of our older adult clients to keep them healthy and safe, ensuring not only that their personal care needs are met but that they also have food in the fridge. They are my heroes!
Another way we’re supporting the health and safety of our clients is by providing masks. I’m very grateful to the community partners who have contributed to our goal of supplying two washable masks for each of our 5,000 clients. Thank you to the CJP team of Amanda Hadad, Director of Caring and Social Justice, and Zach Wainwright, CJP Board of Directors, for their help in securing several thousand masks. We also send thanks to Marissa and Adam Goldstein, owners of Rafi Nova for their generous donation of 1,000 masks and to the Boston Area Mask Initiative who donated 250 masks. I’d also like to highlight a collaboration between JFS, Temple Beth Elohim, and the Shapiro Foundation where volunteers received the training and supplies they needed to provide masks to the TBE community and beyond. The initiative has received orders for over 200 masks, and donated hundreds to essential workers, and we’re looking at expanding to other communities. More info to come on this expansion soon.
For more information on our efforts to collect and distribute masks, please see: https://jfsmw.org/2020/05/20/jfs-and-community-partners-provide-needed-masks-to-clients/.
And, here are a few links to other news and resources you may find useful:
- Resources related to the COVID-19 health emergency compiled 5/18/20
- Virtual support group for families living with Alzheimer’s
- Option B: Planning for Your Future in the Age of COVID-19 (Blog post from elder expert Malka Young)
- JFS is hiring – part time bookkeeper wanted – please help us spread the word!
Finally, I would like to extend an invitation to our virtual Annual Meeting on June 1, 2020 at 7 p.m. Watch the meeting Live on Facebook as we discharge and install new officers and board members, and welcome our new President, Josef Volman! You won’t want to miss it.
As Memorial Day weekend approaches, I remember many of my friends and shipmates who made the ultimate sacrifice. Let us remember them and all who fought and perished in battle. I wish you, along with your families, friends, and all of our brave and committed health care providers and first responders, good health.
Please reach out if you know someone that needs assistance. We are here to help.
With much gratitude,
Lino Covarrubias, CEO and the entire JFS Team