Community Comments | COVID-19 Relief Fund Update
Jewish Long Beach has been working to serve our community during this time of need by establishing the Jewish Long Beach COVID-19 Relief Fund with an initial commitment of $50,000 from our grantable funds.
We have also been blessed to receive to-date more than $20,000 in additional philanthropic contributions for COVID-19 relief, including a very generous grant to the fund from the National Council of Jewish Women. As of April 21, 2020, Jewish Long Beach has made a total of nearly $45,000 in grants from the COVID-19 Relief Fund to local Jewish agencies and organizations.
These grants have funded the purchase of: gift cards to be used for food and supplies by vulnerable seniors and families in need; Passover dinners and rent/utility assistance for isolated and needy community members; counseling services; remote learning tools and technologies to continue meaningful student engagement at all age levels; programming for Jewish college students; and other critically important programs.
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These funds have already had a huge impact on our community as expressed by some of the recipients. Rabbi Nancy Myers from Beth David shared many notes of thanks from her congregants who received support. Below are a few of them:
“Thank you for the generous grant to our synagogue which allowed it to provide me with a gift card.”
“What a wonderful surprise this is! This really means a lot at this time of need.”
“Oh my goodness! Thank you for your generosity of spirit at this quite distressing time. Receiving your Walmart gift card brought us such joy! You have blessed us tremendously . . . and we are truly grateful!”
“We squealed with such delight and laughter, you might’ve thought we won the Lottery! In the reality of this season, to us, it’s just as impactful! Again, we are so grateful. Thank you!”
“I cannot express enough my appreciation for this gift and what it means for my family. The timing couldn’t have been better. It’s a great relief that we will now be able to get the groceries we need to practice social distancing as strictly as possible.
“We are speechless and very grateful for this gift during this tough time and we will find a way to pay it forward, thank you again so much.”
“Many thanks to Jewish Long Beach for their generosity, I am humbled and grateful. Jewish Long Beach’s kindness is greatly appreciated.”
“Please thank Jewish Long Beach and express how grateful I am for this gift card - a little sunshine during these scary times. Everyone stay safe thank you.”
“My family and I would like to take this time to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts for you and Jewish Long Beach for this generous gift! This will definitely help through these tough times! May G-d bless you all and I pray that you and your family continue to stay strong and prevail over these current circumstances.”
“With a heart full of gratitude for the kindness that I found in the mail this afternoon I Thank you.”
“It will really help. We can’t leave the house because we’re seniors with health problems. Thanks for caring so much for your congregants. And thank Jewish Long Beach for their generosity.”
“Thank you for thinking of me especially through this time. I really appreciate it. This card will definitely help to purchase any necessary household needs.”
“Thank G-d for this gift card. We have been praying for help. Thank you.”
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Rabbi Shmuel Marcus from Chabad of Los Alamitos told us that the thanks were incredible. “One women cried saying she was worried about telling her child that they could not afford a cake for her birthday, he said, “and the little grant helped her with basics and we provided a
birthday for a young child."
Chabad also used the grant to provide 50 Seder meals and one recipient remarked, “Thank you again. G-d bless – you are the reason we are able to have a Passover, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to. You have no idea how much you are helping us. G-d should repay you in a wonderful way.”
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Early Childhood Education at Alpert Jewish Community Center used the grant to distribute hundreds of care packages to families, which included projects and activities that the children can do at home with their parents and then share with their classmates via the class Facebook or Zoom. The response from the children and their families has been overwhelmingly positive.
One parent said, “Thank you all for your efforts in getting the online groups and Zoom calls going! They have strengthened the community of our classroom and provided much needed connectivity. For Marley, seeing her teachers and classmates virtually and being able to interact with them, even just hearing her teacher say her own name and say hello brings so much comfort.”
Jeffrey Rips, Alpert JCC executive director expressed, “A huge thank you to Jewish Long Beach and their leadership for creating the COVID-19 Relief Fund. Their vision and support has helped us continue to touch the lives of our ECE children and families, and most importantly enabled us to reach out to those laid off staff members who helped make our “J” the special place that it is.”
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The Hebrew Academy was most grateful for the emergency relief funding that Jewish Long Beach provided the organization during this challenging time. “Your assistance helped us financially and picked up our spirit knowing that the community is there to support our children and families,” noted Hebrew Academy Dean Rabbi Yitzchok Newman.
One example is that we have distributed more than 40 laptops and tablets to families and educators so that students can access online learning and live instruction. As we start the new cycle of learning we have prepared many more devices to distribute to our families.” (See the article on page 12.)
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Jewish Family and Children’s Service has purchased groceries and basic needs for 14 Jewish seniors to date and is working with Hillel and Hebrew Academy on providing counseling services. (See article on page 13.)
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Dr. Richard Marcus, chair of the Jewish Long Beach Planning and Grants Committee remarked, “The Committee spent the Fall redesigning its processes to grow grants in a way that serves the mission of the new Jewish Long Beach. The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly changed the immediate needs of our community. We pivoted our efforts to concentrate on urgent response through a Jewish Long Beach COVID-19 Relief Fund.
We remain dedicated to Jewish Long Beach’s Core Funding Priorities (Care, Advocate, Build, and Engage), but recognize that our immediate need is to help our community partners provide the Care our community needs in this trying time. I am so honored to work with a committee and professional staff that in one week could move from a grants process that takes weeks to one that facilitates awards in a couple of days. On behalf of the committee, I want to thank our community partners and express how humbled we are to watch their amazing innovation in providing food, mental health counseling, early childhood learning, senior assistance, and other forms of support for our community members in need.”
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Please visit the Jewish Long Beach COVID-19 Resource Center on our website jewishlongbeach.org, for access to information from state and local government agencies, health authorities, and Jewish organizations for the general population, as well as for seniors, families, those seeking Jewish engagement/education, small businesses, and others.
Jewish Long Beach will continue to field emergency grant requests from Jewish agencies, organizations, and congregations, and to provide access to information and resources for as long as the crisis persists. Indeed, our entire staff and lay leadership have dedicated themselves to ensuring that we are able to be swift and nimble in our response to this unprecedented set of circumstances.
If you would like donate to the COVID-19 Relief Fund visit jewishlongbeach.org/covid-19-updates or call Yolanda Placencio at 562.426.7601 ext. 1314 to charge by phone.