Jewish Family & Children’s Service offers many programs and services to assist the entire community, but there are also specific ones just for the Jewish community. These programs are always provided but are being utilized more than ever by people facing challenges during these unprecedented times.
One of these that many people do not know about is Helping Hands – Emergency Financial Assistance. This program provides specific, short-term financial assistance to Jewish individuals or families otherwise unable to meet basic needs.
“We can help with rent, mortgage, utilities and food, but we’ve also helped with car payments, air conditioning repair and car insurance,” says Kathy Rood, program manager of Jewish programs at JFCS. “People cannot go to work or go look for work if they don’t have car insurance or a running automobile.”
Kathy says that JFCS saw an uptick for services at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, and things had leveled out, but they are expecting another surge now that the federal unemployment subsidy has stopped.
“People from all sectors of the economy have been affected – any kind of service that shut down, we’ve seen people come to us for help,” says Kathy.
There is a limit to what JFCS can offer financially, so they also work with the Jewish Free Loan if there is a need beyond what they can fulfill. The difference between JFCS and Jewish Free Loan is that the financial aid from JFCS is grant-based, so a person does not need to pay it back.
Another valuable service offered by JFCS is the Jewish Career Services. Many people who are currently unemployed may not have a job to go back to when the economy turns around. “To have a good professional resume and be ready and be out in front of all the competition is good,” says Kathy.
Kathy says that they are also seeing a rise in the number of people seeking counseling. “If you consider one in four individuals face a mental health challenge, and because of the health and economic challenges we are currently facing, the need for mental health services has risen greatly.”
JFCS has licensed Jewish therapists available to provide the emotional and spiritual support needed to those seeking counseling. They treat teenagers, adults and seniors.
“I feel very honored and privileged to be involved in these programs, and I am so so thankful for the funders – Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Foundation, and the community members that contribute to those organizations or us directly; they are the reason these programs exist,” says Kathy.
For more information, visit jfcsaz.org.