It is safe to say, sadly, that Mero Ruff’s story is not entirely unique. In the era of COVID-19, reports abound of food insecurity, job loss, and housing uncertainty. What sets Mero’s tale apart is the strong, trusting bond he established with his Jewish Family Service care manager, Debbie Zimmerman (RN), who helped him in his time of need.
“I have a great appreciation for what I consider an immutable fact: people who can feed themselves have a greater sense of independence,” stated Ben Kaufman.
Ben is the master gardener of the community garden of the Barbash Family Vital Support Center, located on the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion campus. The garden helps provide hundreds of people in our community access to fresh vegetables through the Jewish Family Service Heldman Family Food Pantry.
It is usually counterintuitive to depict the home as an unsafe space. People generally associate home with comfort, quarantine with safety from outside elements. Now more than ever, we are being encouraged to stay at home and avoid outside exposure. The experience of stress that family members report when being confined together for extended amounts of time typically falls within normal range. But for victims of domestic abuse, the experience of being quarantined with their abusive partner poses
Jewish Family Service Heldman Family Food Pantry will remain open during this time of social distancing, so everyone who needs groceries can get them.
And they are staying safe: “We really want to reassure the community that we are working hard to ensure the safety of our professionals and volunteers,” said Liz Vogel, CEO at Jewish Family Service, which is funded by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.