Imagine realizing for the first time in your life that you need food assistance.
A Jewish couple, who we’ll call Ron and Julie, faced this reality last year, when COVID-19 infections raced across the globe to Pittsburgh. Ron and Julie had only been living in Pittsburgh for a year and suddenly found themselves unemployed. The feelings you probably imagine—the struggle to adjust to yet another new reality, the discomfort of asking for help—hit this couple hard.
When Ron and Julie walked into the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, the staff gave them not only food, but also reassurance and compassion. A social worker referred them to career services at Jewish Family and Community Services and connected them with a variety of other assistance from Jewish agencies united across Pittsburgh. In short, Ron and Julie came looking for food, but they found a community.
It will take a community working together to get through this crisis. Ron and Julie are not alone in their new reality, and your support through the Jewish Federation’s Community Campaign allows us to bridge communication across Jewish agencies and bring relief to people who are suffering.
Elinor began delivering Mollie’s Meals when a friend asked her to help. They shared driving and deliveries until unfortunately, the other woman became too ill. That didn’t deter Elinor, herself a senior, who has been delivering once a week (sometimes twice!) for the last four years, with and without the help of her husband. A retired school secretary, she also volunteers for her synagogue and other groups. In her capacity with Mollie’s Meals, she and her husband see about 14 people on an average day.
“There are challenges. For instance, many recipients are hard of hearing or have difficulty getting to the door. One woman was very confused. I reported her and she’s now in a nursing home. From my end of it I can’t find anything easier. Everything is prepared and ready to go,” Mollie’s Meals Coordinator Fraida Estrin explained.
Big thanks to the Youngs (who are grandparents, as well). Wishing you many more healthy years as JAA partners!