"Making these reassurance phone calls has been one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had. I was moved by every single phone call."
- Lisa Fishman


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.

Lisa Fishman's son Garrett drops off a donation of paper products for community members in need.
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.

To contribute via check, mail your gift to:

Attn: Jewish Hartford Rapid Relief and Recovery Fund
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford
Zachs Campus, 333 Bloomfield Avenue, Suite C
West Hartford, CT 06117

To make an in-kind donation of supplies, contact Jennifer Schwartzman.

With gratitude,


Carolyn Gitlin
Chair, Board of Directors
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford
David Waren
President and CEO
Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford

Leigh A. Newman
Chair, Board of Trustees
Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford
Jacob Schreiber
President and CEO
Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford

Do you need help? Are you or a loved one in the Greater Hartford area struggling because of COVID-19? Click here to request help.
Jewish Hartford Rapid Relief and Recovery Fund Leadership

Dana Keller and Bruce Fischman,   Fund Development Cabinet Co-Chairs  *   David Rosenthal and Sid Ulreich,  Grantmaking Committee Co-Chairs  *   Leigh Newman,  Chair, Board of Trustees, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford  *   Carolyn Gitlin, Chair,  Board of Directors, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford  *   Jacob Schreiber,   President and CEO, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford  *   David Waren,  President and CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford