Food & Financial Assistance
As Thanksgiving approaches and more people strive to give thanks and give back, Jewish Family Service (JFS) wants to thank everyone in the community who participated in this year’s Sukkot Food Drive.
The food drive looked a little different this year, taking place at the Mayerson JCC as part of the 10th annual Under One Roof community art exhibit. “We’ve partnered with Adath Israel in the past,” said Erica Nyberg, Agency Development Director for JFS.
Linda Kean doesn’t believe in fate, but an experience with synchronicity last year still has her smiling. Kean, who is Vice President of Operations and Youth & Family Programs with Jewish Family Service (JFS), explained how JFS benefitted from fortuitous timing earlier in the year. “In April of 2020, I had an inspired idea. I said to our Heldman Family Food Pantry staff, ‘We really need to redesign the food pantry."
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.
One of the most important aspects of charitable assistance is the need to protect the confidentiality of recipients. People’s dignity should be at the center of any provided service; if a family is struggling—whether financially or in other ways—their right to privacy must be respected. So, when Jewish Family Service (JFS) recently received a grant that made recipient anonymity more difficult, their staff worked hard to create a resolution that was a success for everyone involved.
Jewish Family Service is making sure the High Holiday season is special for everyone. To help, a longtime volunteer, Pam Barbash, and her family prepared brisket and matzo ball soup that were later handed out to clients of Jewish Family Service Barbash Family Vital Support Center.
“Every year, she prepares the meals in her own kitchen,” said Jonathan Magrisso, manager of the Heldman Family Food Pantry. “It’s just an extra way we can make sure everyone feels included.”
“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.
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.