Real Stories of Real Help

Jewish Federation COVID-19 Relief Distributions to Date

$0 Million

Vulnerable Populations

Read Their Stories

COVID-19 Relief Stories: Kevin & Barbara Ginsburg

Barbara and Kevin 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.

$9,000

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

$10,000

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

$21,000

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.

COVID-19 Relief Stories: Ron & Julie

COVID food insecurity relief at the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry

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 JFCS 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.

Support for Vulnerable Populations by the Numbers

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

$30,000

for CWB to provide unique online programs, workshops and events

$100,000

for HFLA to meet the dramatic increased demand for emergency loans

$15,000

for Repair the World to launch Serve the Moment initiative