COVID-19 Relief Stories: Kevin & Barbara Ginsburg

Beloved faces help Kevin face stress.

Kevin taking his mother’s dog, Alton, for a walk.

The emotional pressure cooker of the pandemic causes stress for everyone. Imagine how you’d feel if you already faced significant personal challenges. The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s support for the community seeks to reach these members of the population to ensure that no one is left behind during this pandemic.

Kevin Ginsburg, 42, has intellectual disabilities and is mostly nonverbal. Because of the threat of COVID, he lost his job. He could not go to his equestrian therapy or to the gym. He missed socializing at concerts, camp and community functions.

Kevin’s mother, Barbara Ginsburg, noticed that her socially distanced visits to Kevin’s Jewish Residential Services (JRS) home did little to raise his spirits. “Saying hi from afar wasn’t cutting it,” she described. Kevin’s well-being was deteriorating.

Fortunately, funding from the Jewish Federation’s Community Campaign helped JRS to secure technology that relieves stress for Kevin and for others who are living through the pandemic with a disability.

Now Kevin has virtual visits with his parents, grandmother and sisters. The positive effect of these visits delights Barbara: “Technology has been helpful for Kevin,” she reports. “He can see facial expressions up-close.” Usually Kevin seldom speaks, but when he uses technology, “Kevin is excited to talk.”

Support for People with Disabilities by the Numbers

A few of the many ways the Community Campaign has supported Jewish Pittsburgh through the COVID-19 crisis.


to Krembo Wings for home visits to children with disabilities in Israel


to JRS for technology to connect residential clients with their families and friends


to Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse for smartphones and wi-fi to allow members access to services

Barbara and Kevin Ginsburg

Barbara is grateful to donors who made a commitment to the Jewish Federation: “If the technology wasn’t available, there would be a lot more emotional distress for my son and others.”

In Pittsburgh and worldwide, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has addressed pandemic-related need by providing technology, food, staffing, facilities improvements and so much more. In some cases, like Kevin’s, relief amounts to unleashing the power of a friendly face.

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