I have been the service provider for Jewish Community Services (JCS) since September 2018.
The last couple of months have been very different due to the pandemic. Since the State of Hawai'i instituted the "Stay Safe at Home" orders, I am receiving a steady stream of calls asking for assistance. Many of our clients are seniors and others who are immune compromised and thus need masks and other types of help to safely shelter at home. They are lonely, isolated and frightened. I have reached out to them and provided supportive calls and zoom meetings as well as direct help with shopping, picking up prescriptions, and meeting emergency needs such as for pest control and computer and wifi access.
Because our way of life has changed and so many have lost their jobs, there continues to be a high demand for assistance with rental, utilities, and other services such as food and supplies. The amount JCS provided in direct assistance to clients increased in April nearly 400% from what we spent in March, a direct result of the pandemic. The vast majority of this was for food and supplies.
In the past few months, JCS has also assisted with hospice care, a dental crisis, future planning, spiritual advisement, relocation assistance, counseling and case management services. Life does go on as do the needs of our fellow Jews.
COVID-19 has opened a door to those who want to connect virtually with our congregations, particularly those who weren't able to attend services in person before. This has been an unexpected and ironic benefit of the situation. It's possible that some of the changes we make as a society, such as Zoom services, will be made permanent and result in increased access for those who are limited in their activities.
We have a wonderful group of recipients who all say "Please take care of everyone else first before helping me". Nowhere else do we have such amazing people we work with. Hawaii is truly a very special place and it takes a situation like this to shine a spotlight on it.
Thank you for your continued support,