During the COVID-19 crisis, longtime Federation and Foundation volunteer Lisa Fishman has been making reassurance phone calls to homebound Jewish seniors. Below, she shares her story of these touching conversations.
When I began making my calls, I had no idea of the impact it would have on me and on the people I called. The very first call I made was to an elderly couple. When I introduced myself and explained why I was calling, they became very emotional, as did I. They were concerned that they did not have enough food and paper goods. When someone tells you that, it is something you never forget. I immediately checked to make sure they were on the list to receive a delivery. When I called back to assure them, they were very relieved. It was so rewarding to hear the newfound calmness in their voices.
The phone conversations touched me so deeply that I was moved to coordinate an in-kind donation of toilet paper and paper towels to the
Jewish Hartford Rapid Relief & Recovery Fund
. I saw firsthand just how necessary these items were. We were going to purchase and donate the items from New England Industrial Supply, LLC, the company that supplies the office buildings our family owns. But when my son Garrett reached out to make the purchase, New England Industrial Supply was so deeply touched that they decided to make a large donation! The paper products were included in the weekly grocery and meal bags delivered by the Federation and the Foundation, and the extras went to Jewish Family Services for future distribution.
One of my most emotional calls was to a Holocaust survivor. She, too, was deeply touched that I was calling just to check in on her. We now check in over the phone once a week. These call recipients are lonely and just so grateful that our Jewish community is showing how much we care. As the daughter and daughter-in-law of a Holocaust survivor - and a member of Voices of Hope, an organization for descendants of survivors - I know all too well how isolating this time can be.
I gave my phone number to the individuals I spoke with; I told them they can call me anytime for assistance or a compassionate ear.
I want everyone to recognize the impact our work has on the most vulnerable members of our community. There are so many ways to make an impact on someone's life - it does not need to be anything huge. Even a simple phone call can make all the difference in the world during this difficult time.