Accelerating Social, Academic and Health Equity
Monthly Report to the Community
August 2021
Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you and your family well and enjoying these last warm days of summer.

At JFS, we are in the process of planning for the coming year, and with Rosh Hashanah and the rest of the Jewish High Holidays quickly approaching, we are energized by the imperatives of repair and renewal.

~ As many in our community have expressed concern over the refugee crisis in Afghanistan, JFS too is watching as the situation unfolds. JFS has been involved with refugee resettlement since its founding and we are ready and awaiting to resettle any of the Afghani refugees in the Greater Boston area - click here to read JFS' statement regarding the Afghan Refugee Crisis and how you can get involved.

~ For families with limited resources it can be a struggle to buy the long list of supplies their children need to start school. To ensure that these young learners may start the year off right, JFS – with the help of dozens of volunteers and donors – will be distributing over 300 backpacks with school supplies in partnership with the Framingham School District. Our annual “Build a Backpack” events are happening the week of August 22nd – click here to sign up and help JFS accelerate academic equity in our community.

~ JFS is enhancing its “Green Initiatives”! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – in this New Year, we are making a commitment to lower our carbon footprint by using green-certified products, reducing waste, and collaborating with our partner agencies in this effort. One way JFS is reducing waste is through the Farm to Pantry initiative piloted by volunteer Akshara Shankar and now led by B O'Donnell (granddaughter of Seize the Dream honorees Diane and Chester Black). This program facilitates the distribution of produce from farms through food pantries to increase the consumption of nutritious goods – click here to learn how you can join JFS in reducing food waste in our community

~ With COVID-19 cases on the rise, getting vaccinated is more important than ever to fight the pandemic and repair its devastating effects. JFS is increasing its efforts to inform community members about the benefits of getting vaccinated and recently published a COVID-19 resource page, which includes a growing list of fact sheets, videos, and other materials in multiple languages as a one-stop guide to vetted information. Also, our talented, multi-lingual staff are meeting with our neighbors where they live and work, ensuring that they have the information they need, in the languages they speak, so they can make informed decisions about their health and the health of their family members.

~ The work of the Committee on Anti-racism and Fighting Anti-Semitism is expanding and in the coming months, we will be profiling our newest TAB trainers. These volunteers have stepped up to lead TAB workshops so that our community members will be empowered to ACT when situations occur. Coordinating these efforts is staff member, Amber Pierre, featured below. To repair the world, we must be present, be watchful and be active. Click here to learn how you can attend an upcoming training and do your part in accelerating social equity in our community.

~ JFS is also committed to supporting the older adults in our community who have been and continue to be impacted by the pandemic. As mask and social distancing guidelines are tightened, many are once again self-isolating, no longer enjoying time with others as they once were. And, while video conferencing may be an option for some, for those living below the poverty level, access to these tools is limited and the loneliness that comes from months of isolating can be crippling, both physically and mentally. With funding from the Metrowest Health Foundation and RBC (Wealth Management) Foundation, JFS’ Virtual Visitors/Caring Connectors Project is recruiting volunteers to reach out to our isolated, older adult neighbors to provide ongoing connection, basic needs assessment, and access to critically needed services and resources. Click here to learn how you can help JFS ensure the safety and wellbeing of these often forgotten community members.

~ Also, to ensure that isolated community members are not forgotten during this holiday season, JFS is delighted to once again coordinate the delivery of over 2,000 Rosh Hashanah meals throughout CJP’s catchment area across Eastern Massachusetts. It is an extraordinary effort that requires collaboration with volunteers, staff, partner synagogues, and other agencies to make this endeavor a success. To make a donation to ensure these neighbors have what they need to honor their Jewish traditions, click here.

The initiatives above represent a small sample of the many ways JFS staff, Board Members, and volunteers are working to have an impact in our Metrowest community. Scroll down to learn more about JFS and how you can get involved. Meet our Board and staff members. See available job and volunteer opportunities. Read stories about recent events and new collaborative partnerships. Make a donation to support this crucial and life sustaining work. At JFS, there is something for everyone – and you are invited. 

Happy New Year – L’Shana Tovah.

Lino Covarrubias, CEO
Richard Henken
Director since 2013
Place of Employment: President, The Schochet Companies

Education: Tufts University, BA in Economics and Psychology; MA in Economics. MIT Sloan School of Management, MS/MBA in Finance and Marketing.

Richard believes working with and supporting JFS is a wonderful way for him to merge his vocation with causes that support the people his company serves every day. Dedicated to standing up for those who are left behind, JFS uniquely provides direct and meaningful support to the individuals and families it aims to serve. Unlike other nonprofits, he feels that every dollar that is donated goes DIRECTLY to helping JFS’ clients in meaningful and impactful ways.
Jodi Bring, LMHC
Director since 2016
Place of Employment:  Vinfen Human Service Agency

Education: Boston College, MA Counseling Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta Georgia BA

Jodi believes that JFS is astounding in its ability to be flexible and proactive in taking care of those in need. As a board member, she is proud of the many impactful, innovative programs JFS provides to help clothe, shelter, and emotionally and financially support the most at risk folks in our community.  
She was first drawn to JFS for its variety of avenues to explore volunteerism. She was on the ground floor in the development of the clothing closet which has grown from a closet, to a room, to a large warehouse! Jodi also greatly appreciates the opportunities JFS provides families to engage in giving back to the community. It is important to her that her children experience and embrace community service and through holiday meal delivery, the clothing closet and the backpack event, JFS makes it possible. 
From her years of working with children and adults with psychiatric disabilities, Jodi has a heightened sense of empathy and a need to help others improve their lives. Being a board member allows her to play a part in affecting change in a way she could not do individually. She is constantly inspired and awed by the work of JFS and she is honored to be a part of this remarkable organization. 
Thank you to these officers for the energy, passion, and commitment they bring to the JFS Board––Learn more about the JFS Board of Directors!
Jayne Lampert

Director of Development
With JFS since August of 2011
Born in the U.S., speaks English and a little Spanish

“As the Director of Development my role is to identify and educate donors on the important work JFS is doing in the community. I ask people for money so JFS can provide assistance to our our neighbors who come to us for help.

It is a privilege to ask for donations from philanthropic-minded people to provide them with a vehicle to support others. I am responsible for the unrestricted budget which permits our nimble agency to provide the necessary services to the community."

Amber Pierre

Program Specialist, Community Engagement
With JFS since June 2021
Born in the U.S., speaks Haitian Creole and English

In my role as the program coordinator for the Racial Justice program at JFS, I’m able to help stand against hate and bigotry towards people of color and Jews. The work we do gives voice to people in our community, and elevates the real everyday situations that they go through. This work can make us all better individuals for ourselves and our community."

Throughout the summer, Framingham Public Schools (FPS) has hosted Family Park Meetups, a series of ongoing family engagement nights in local parks across Framingham!

JFS distributed over 1,000 items (including children’s and women’s clothes, shoes, and accessories) to families who attended the Family Park Meetups at the Mary Dennison Park and the Arlington Street Park.

Smiles abound, kids and their parents were able to grab a JFS tote bag and shop through brand new and gently used shoes, soccer cleats, dresses, shorts, and more! Among the happy faces was a boy who found a pair of cleats that fit just right, after JFS CEO Lino Covarrubias kneeled down to lace them up!

CLICK HERE to learn more about the JFS Children's Clothing Closet,
and visit THIS LINK to make an online donation today!

Thank you to Juan Sayan and his crew from InstMerch, Inc. for providing JFS with cloth tote bags to pack clothing for the JFS Children’s Clothing Closet!

JFS is committed to supporting local, minority-run businesses. Muchisimas Gracias, Juan and everyone at InstMerch!
Earlier this month, Rosalinda, a 26-year-old native of Guatemala, gained US Citizenship through JFS’s Citizenship Assistance, a program within our Immigrant & Resettlement services.

In preparation for her citizenship exam, Rosalinda studied semi-weekly with JFS intern Julia Convery. After passing the exam, Rosalinda called Julia to share the good news and thank her for her help. Convery noted, “The call made my day! It was amazing to see the fruit of our labor, and I’m so happy for Rosalinda and her family!”

Rosalinda later added, “It is important to me to be a part of this country, to be able to vote, to travel more easily, and to live without fear.”

To learn more about our JFS Immigrant and Resettlement services’s programs and how you can get involved, click here!

On Friday, July 20th, JFS staff members Joanne Kane, Abrielle Salloway, and Zach Blankstein visited Temple Beth Am in Framingham to pick up over 20 bags of donated food and personal care items!

JFS of Metrowest wants to thank all the members of Temple Beth Am for their generous food and personal care items donations. JFS especially thanks Susan Siegel, for coordinating this project, as well as temple president Carole Hanover, Ellen Jagher, Rabbi Blumberg, and Cantor Wolff for performing this tikkun olam.

In times such as these, it is reassuring to know that there are communities such as yours that will go above and beyond for others!
Discussing the intricacies of the pandemic with children can be difficult. JFS volunteer and recent Standford University graduate, Emma Rashes, 22, is trying to change that.

We are excited to share the release of her new children's book, Lily the Llama Helps Her Herd, illustrated by Theresa Jahn. This beautifully illustrated rhyming book teaches children about herd immunity, explaining the importance of vaccination for their own health and for protecting their loved ones and communities.

Lily the Llama Helps Her Herd is available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, both in hard copy and on e-readers. Click here to get your copy today!

For more COVID-19-related information and resources, click here.
Recently, JFS's Healthy Aging InitiativeNORC Program, and Children's Clothing Closet joined forces to partner with the Framingham Housing Authority (FHA) to provide an action-packed afternoon for the Hastings House residents. Activities included a pop-up clothing distribution event, Resident Advisory Meeting, August birthdays celebration, and barbecue Lunch Bunch activity. 

Although JFS's Clothing Closet events typically distribute children's items, thanks to our generous donors, we've collected an abundance of adult clothing, prompting several JFS programs to collaborate on this distribution. Hastings House residents welcomed us with warm smiles and left with bags full of warm, new clothes.
To register for a Build-a-Backpack event, scan QR code above or click here! For more information, please contact:
Social isolation wears many faces. Changes in health and circumstance can make it difficult for older adults to maintain relationships or form new ones. 

The JFS Warm Connectors program matches older adults living in the community with volunteers who serve as "connectors" and create opportunities to connect with neighbors, friends, family and the community.

Trained volunteers are matched with older adults and once matched, they meet on a regular, mutually agreed upon schedule. Warm Connectors reduce social isolation both with regular visits as well as by helping build and grow relationships. Connections can include: attend a social or learning activity, join an exercise class, write letters to family, video call with friends or family, attend a faith-based service, etc. 

Click here to learn more about JFS Warm Connectors!
Interested In Volunteering?

Please complete this short form and a JFS staff member will get back to you,
or email Gail (Manager of Volunteer Services & Community Engagement) at

JFS responds to the ever-changing needs in our community and we are continually adding new volunteer opportunities. Watch the recording of this year’s Seize the Dream and hear directly from our volunteers about the impact they are making in the community every day!

If you’d like to support this impactful work, please donate!

JFS Committee on Anti-Racism & Fighting Antisemitism
To learn about upcoming news and events as they occur, like/follow the new JFS Committee on Anti-Racism and Fighting Antisemitism social media channels, and CLICK HERE for a list of resources specific to this work.


Caring for a loved one with dementia comes with many challenges. Often, as dementia progresses, unexpected aggression or agitation may occur which can be frightening or create risk of injury. Your approach with this can potentially deescalate an unsafe situation.
Here are 9 helpful steps to handle and deescalate agitation caused by dementia:
  1. Speak low and slow with a gentle and reassuring tone
  2. Scan environment to identify the immediate cause
  3. Validate their feelings
  4. Rule out pain/discomfort as the cause of the behavior
  5. Calm the environment
  6. Shift focus to a different activity
  7. Put on music
  8. Remove yourself from the room
  9. Safety first. Call 911 if you or your loved one is at risk

If nothing you do is improving the situation, it is better to leave the person alone than to agitate them. If the person’s behavior makes them unsafe or threatens you, get help, either from a care attendant if available or call 911, describe the behavior and tell them the person has dementia. Your safety takes priority. Get help. You are not alone.

When you need expert guidance navigating the challenges that come with aging, the elder experts of JFS Allies in Aging can help.

Loans are available from $1,000–$10,000 to households of moderate income. You must be a resident of the Metrowest area to apply, and a complete loan application is required. Learn more.

Seeking per diem Geriatric Care Managers to work with growing Metrowest geriatric care management practice--LICSW or CCM preferred but not required; Applicant should have the following qualifications:

  • MSW, RN, or degree in related field
  • 3 to 5 years experience working with older adults and families
  • Experience working with people with dementia preferred
  • Knowledge of community resources and entitlement programs
  • Strong oral and written skills
  • Ability to pay attention to detail and meet deadlines
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Ability to use computer (Microsoft Office Suite)
  • Ability to drive and have access to a car
  • Flexible schedule, occasional evening and weekend hours may be required to accommodate client needs

JFS of Metrowest is seeking to hire employees with older adult in-home homecare experience with the following requirements:

  • PCA qualification
  • One year home care experience desired
  • Availability on short notice to take assignments
  • Reliable transportation and valid drivers license
  • In good health-physical exam and TB screening mandatory
  • Fluent English/good communications skills. Multilingual a plus (Spanish and Portuguese. Also Mandarin Chinese)
  • (2) work references in the healthcare industry
  • Must enjoy working with the elderly population
  • Most work is during the day Monday-Fridays with very flexible hours
  • Flexibility a plus

JFS Supports Our Veterans
JFS has a commitment with our partner agencies to ensure
no veteran is left behind.

Are you a veteran looking to buy a home? Check out these resources:

A core element of the JFS Children's Clothing Closet is our Ready-to-Wear Initiative, which works with families in the community to provide clothing items specifically catered to their children’s sizes and needs.
Throughout the pandemic, JFS's connections with community partners has strengthened. A number of community organizations--Framingham Public Schools (FPS), the Boys & Girls Club of Metrowest, and Wayside Youth & Family Support Network--now rely on JFS Ready-to-Wear orders for the families and children they serve. 
The demand for Ready-to-Wears is greater than ever before.

JFS needs your help to support children in our community!

Families are particularly in need of new socks and underwear

  •  A $20-$25 donation could fill 1 Ready to Wear order with a pack of socks and underwear each
  •  A $100 donation could help fill about 4 Ready to Wear orders with a pack of socks and underwear each
  • A $250 donation could help fill about 10 Ready to Wear orders with a pack of socks and underwear each
Thank you to Richard, Jodi, Jayne, Amber and all who are partnering with JFS to Accelerate Social, Academic and Health Equity in our community.

Your help is needed - get involved today!
JFS of Metrowest | 508-875-3100 | |