Impact Stories:

COVID-19 Relief Stories: Chet Stofman & Carol Tabas

For People With Disabilities, Isolation Doesn't Mean "On Your Own"

Chet smiles as he rides on a horse guided by an equestrian therapy professional
Chet enjoys equestrian therapy during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us, but the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is working to ease the strain for everyone in our community. Carol Tabas and others like her face particularly heart-wrenching questions in caring for adults with disabilities. Carol's son, Chet, is 37 and lives at home. Chet loves the outdoors — especially fishing and swimming. He has cerebral palsy and is nonverbal.

For Carol, the pandemic raised special concerns: To safeguard Chet, how could she get protective equipment for her home? If Chet became ill, could she be with him in the hospital? How will people with disabilities be prioritized for the vaccine?

Fortunately, Carol knew she could raise her questions through her Jewish Residential Services (JRS) support system: “We all need each other to figure out what’s best.”

Chet and his mom, Carol Tabas
Chet and his mom, Carol Tabas

JRS relies on funding from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh for many critical functions—not only to purchase technology connecting adults with long-term mental health problems and/or intellectual disabilities to their loved ones during the pandemic, but also to collaborate across agencies, to identify critical need areas and to have the flexibility to adapt. In short, Jewish Federation enables JRS to provide quality care—the kind of support that means the world to Carol. JRS could address emergent issues and continue pre-COVID outreach, such as reminders about voting and holidays.

“They even celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act,” Carol marveled. For Carol and other parents of people with disabilities, “the most helpful thing JRS did was give a sense of normalcy.”

Carol is grateful to donors who contributed to the Jewish Federation. “Now more than ever we have to help each other,” said Carol. “Thank you.”

Although COVID quarantine has increased isolation for Carol and Chet, Jewish Federation funding helped them know that they’re not on their own.


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