The Associated’s Ongoing Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Hineini – Here I Am. How can I help our community?

The COVID-19 crisis continues to put an immeasurable strain on many members of our community. Bearing the brunt of the crisis are our most vulnerable – the elderly, jobless, victims of abuses and people with disabilities. Many of you responded early on in the crisis last Spring, and we are grateful for your foresight and generosity. However, the needs continue to grow, and we need your help to raise an additional $500,000 for pandemic relief to meet ongoing, urgent needs, such as emergency financial assistance for food, medicine and shelter, virtual therapy appointments and more. 

Impact of dollars raised from the COVID Emergency Funds since March 2020

This past year, The Associated and our agencies pivoted, mapping out a plan to mobilize the continuation of our indispensable services. We heard the cries of so many community members who were (and still are) facing new and unpredictable adversities. We helped the unemployed, supported those dealing with grief, anxiety and other mental health issues, distributed food to ensure that no one went hungry and we eased the pain of isolation. Look at how much we have accomplished in less than a year:

  • CHAI provided close to 20,000 weekly boxes of food and fresh produce to people in need.
  • The Macks Center for Jewish Education helped over 800 day, congregational and early childhood educators transition to online learning.
  • Jewish Community Services provided over 11,000 telehealth therapy sessions.
  • Pearlstone provided 33,451 healthy and nutritious emergency meals for struggling families.
  • The Myerberg Center launched its new virtual center, helping close to 1,000 older adults stay active and connected.
  • The Jewish Community Center’s summer camps cares for hundreds of children so parents could continue working.
  • CHANA provided 832 nights of shelter for victims of abuse.
  • Jewish Volunteer Connection volunteers prepared and donated over 45,000 meals to neighbors.

The current, most urgent needs of our Baltimore Jewish community

Financial assistance: In the last 3 months, requests for financial assistance are the highest they have been since the pandemic started, and Jewish Community Services (JCS) has disbursed $243,000 in the last 3 months alone. Both the amount of money disbursed and the number of people needing support have increased. Unlike “normal” times when people are able to get back on their feet with a brief infusion of cash for food and housing, the pandemic has substantially increased the amount of time that people need financial assistance – especially as public resources become scarcer.

Elder Abuse: Though the number of reported cases are down during the pandemic, elder abuse didn’t go away. Stuck at home and dependent on abusive family members, many older victims relied upon their abusers to drive them to doctor appointments and make sure they had food and medicine. Meanwhile, family members and friends who may have noticed things were amiss, weren’t around to pick up red flags. Now, as older adults become vaccinated and begin to feel less dependent, CHANA is gearing up, adding new professionals, as it expects to see a surge in elder abuse calls.

Cleaning Supplies and PPE Equipment: Cleaning supplies and PPE equipment are an important part of our agencies’ budgets to make sure our buildings are a safe, sanitized and a welcoming place. The JCC provides in-person school and childcare for many families so parents can return to work, in addition to gearing up for camps this summer. Also, our group homes for adults with developmental disabilities now require round-the-clock staff since the residents are not going out to work during the day. This has resulted in an increase in both staff and PPP costs.

Mental Health: Many people in our community continue to face mental health challenges. A follow-up study of our community at the beginning of the pandemic showed that the two groups most affected with anxiety and depression are isolated older adults and, most of all, young people aged 25-34. JCS provides much needed therapy to their clients virtually. Unfortunately, some of these session are not reimbursed by all health insurance companies. We need additional resources to continue to provide much needed support to those struggling with mental health needs.

Help us continue to say “Hineini – Here I Am!”  

Our work is not done and there is much that needs to be accomplished to make sure Jewish Baltimore gets back on its feet. We continue to address the enormous needs of those who are struggling and adapting to this rapidly changing world with solutions that will help our community move forward.

Are you ready to help your neighbors in need during these unprecedented times? With your support, we can continue to guarantee that everyone in our community is cared for. Answer the call and make a gift to The Associated’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. Make a grant recommendation with your donor advised fund through DonorSphere. Or print out and complete this paper Grant Recommendation Form for COVID Emergency Fund.

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The Associated is a home for everyone in the Baltimore Jewish community. We offer several email lists to help people find a community, engage with their peers and support Jewish journeys around the world.

Join Our Mailing List