The JCC’s Bulletin dates back to the 1930s, when it was a premier source of news for the local Jewish community. We are proud to continue this tradition of keeping our JCC community informed via our virtual Bulletin.
The bulletin circa 1974
This year has taught us to be even more grateful, not just for what we have individually, but for the community around us. We’ve seen essential workers step up to the plate and take care of our community. I want to say a special thank you to our staff members, who have been doing this essential work day and night over the past few months. Without them, the JCC would not have been able to weather the storms and continue to serve our community.
Through this work, we can see that so many of our friends and neighbors are still hurting. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen an uptick in cases through our Resource Navigator program, which links those who test positive with needed services. The need for our Kosher Food Pantry has quadrupled over the past few months. Our other social services, including navigation for health insurance, benefits, and legal services, have also been in high demand.
For anyone in need, the JCC is here for you. Our COVID-19 Connect to Recovery services are free and available remotely to anyone who has been negatively impacted by the pandemic. We are excited that we were able to restart our Grab & Go meal distribution for seniors this week, and we are prepared to provide additional services as needs arise throughout this next wave of the pandemic.
While we work together to heal the wounds caused by the crisis, my hope is for all of us to continue to do our part to help keep our community safe. Our individual actions can help keep others—even those we’ve never met—healthy, and I hope you will continue to stay vigilant during the holidays.
As this is the season of thanks, I could not end this letter without thanking you, our members and participants, for sticking with us over the past year. Our board and staff are so thankful to all of you for continuing to support us throughout these difficult times. Your commitment to our mission is a major part of what makes the JCC so special.
Wishing you and your families a safe and happy Thanksgiving!
Through its COVID-19 Connect to Recovery program, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island continues to provide critical social services to Staten Islanders experiencing hardships brought on by the pandemic.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “As we approach what might be a second wave of the virus, we want you to know that we will still be here for you and we are prepared to serve you with compassion and care throughout this crisis.”
With temperatures dropping and positive case rates rising, many are worried about a severe winter, especially for the vulnerable senior population who may be isolated and unable to shop for themselves. The JCC recently held a virtual food drive—a safer alternative to traditional collections of canned goods—to raise money to provide free, grab-and-go meals to seniors for the next six weeks.
Since moving its wide range of social services under one COVID-19 Connect to Recovery banner in May, the JCC has also connected thousands of Staten Islanders with access to food, health insurance navigation, legal help, mental health support, and much more. Upon contacting Connect to Recovery, clients complete a remote, initial comprehensive intake and assessment with a JCC social worker. The program is open to everyone, regardless of religion, JCC membership affiliation, or other identifiers.
Samantha—a Connect to Recovery client whose name has been changed to protect her privacy—is an example of the kinds of help available at the JCC. Samantha used to clean houses for a living, but once the pandemic struck, her customers were afraid of exposure to the virus and stopped using her services. Out of work, she contacted Connect to Recovery to get food from the Kosher Food Pantry. During her initial conversation with a social worker, she mentioned that she had over $10,000 in credit card debt that she could not pay due to her situation. The JCC put her in touch with a New York Legal Assistance Group financial counselor to discuss her options. She also received referrals for SNAP benefits and other social services. Now that Samantha has been diagnosed with COVID herself, the JCC has even arranged to have her neighbor pick up food from the food pantry and deliver it to her.
“I was unaware of the positive impact that one phone call to the JCC would have on my life,” Samantha noted.
Like Samantha, many clients first contact Connect to Recovery for help with one problem but, through their conversations with the JCC’s social workers, realize that assistance is available for other hardships they are facing.
Neshama Marcus, Chief Program Director of Community Based Programs, said, “Individuals in crisis don’t need added difficulties right now. Connect to Recovery makes it easy to get all the help you need from our caring staff members.”
If you or someone you know is in need of any assistance from Connect to Recovery, you can contact Carolyn at COVID19@sijcc.com or 718.475.5264. For more information, click here.
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