Putting Food on the Table: Your Support is More Important Than Ever
COVID-19 Relief Stories: Rocco
July 8, 2021
The Jewish Federation delivers support so the JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry can deliver challah
A pandemic, a history of stroke and “widow maker” heart issues, a near-empty refrigerator, and only Jax the dog for company: In summer 2020 this was the situation for 65-year-old Rocco, a resident of the Lincoln Place neighborhood.
Fortunately, thanks in part to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Rocco found help. He called the United Way’s 211 emergency hotline and received a telephone number — the number of Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS), a Federation beneficiary agency.
For many years, the Jewish Federation has given key financial backing to help JFCS provide vital services. Since 2020, Federation has helped JFCS meet the spike in demand that the pandemic caused. Since the onset of the pandemic, the Jewish Federation has distributed over $425,000 to help JFCS continue to operate safely and help those ravaged by the pandemic’s effects.
When concerns about spreading COVID prevented the JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry from continuing to use in-person volunteers, the Federation increased support to enable the Pantry to bring on additional staff. When the Pantry saw an increase in need and experienced challenges with food supply, the Jewish Federation allocated funding to help the Pantry buy food. When homebound community members couldn’t get to the Pantry, Federation dollars contributed to the purchase of a van to make deliveries, and Federation provided personal protective equipment to help ensure that home deliveries were safe deliveries.
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.
Rocco remembers what happened after he called JFCS: “I was soon in touch with Ellen. She set me up for a monthly home delivery.” Over the next few months, the JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry continued to send Rocco groceries, toiletries and other essentials, and dog food for Jax. “The deliveries always have things I can benefit from,” Rocco reports.
Rocco benefits from contact with JFCS staff, too. “Ellen checks in every month. She is the nicest person to talk to. Julianna and Beth, who deliver for the Pantry, are the kindest people.”
Rocco has dietary concerns, because of his health problems, but receiving the groceries resolved his worries: “I was surprised at the quality of the food from the Pantry, especially the produce. I am so grateful for the deliveries and the kindness,” he says.
One month the Pantry delivered a fresh loaf of challah to Rocco. “It was so good. Oh, my goodness. It was so good.”
Food for the body, food for the soul. With the Federation’s help, the JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry has made home deliveries of both.