Unprecedented Need

Last week’s message was, “Federation is here for you.”

We focused our energies on getting people groceries.  We asked people to sign up if they needed assistance, and we asked for volunteers to help with shopping and deliveries.  Thank you to the dozens of people who have volunteered to help.

group of different color cartoon hands reaching upThis week, we’ve been working on getting a program for the preparation and delivery of cooked meals to our most vulnerable.  We’ve worked with Price Chopper to prepare; Vaad Hakashruth to supervise; Albany County’s Department for Aging and B’nai Brith to help fund; and our partner, Jewish Family Services, to implement a critical service for our community.  We’re working with the Board of Rabbis to help us to identify needs.  

These days I speak with my friend and colleague Jane, CEO of Jewish Family Services, every couple of hours, and I used my “free time” to check in with our other local and international partners.  As you might imagine, the Jewish community is facing many challenges.   JCCs are closed.  Schools are closed with virtual learning.  Synagogues are closed with virtual learning and praying.    Daughters of Sarah is operational, but on lockdown.  Hillels have all become virtual.  Our friends in Eshkol are on lockdown, with Israel’s restrictions even more severe than ours.  The Jewish Agency is struggling to care for Israel’s needy.  The Joint Distribution Committee is struggling to take care of global crises.   Jewish Federations of North America is hosting regular calls to keep my colleagues around the country and me up to date on latest government resources and give us opportunities to learn best practices from each other.  

Two weeks ago, we cancelled the annual Super Sunday phone-a-thon and issued a two week moratorium on fundraising efforts while we assessed.  Well, we’ve assessed, and there is much to do.  Next week we are going to start work on fundraising to meet the incredible challenges.  We will ask for help with our regular annual campaign to help support all of our partner organizations, and we will likely initiate an emergency campaign to make sure that people get the emergency assistance they need.    I’ll be in touch soon with details.


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