Making Connections
Your Monthly Update on Our Work and Impact
From Gail's Desk
June 27, 2022
Greetings!

We’ve all had that moment of sticker shock in recent weeks as we watch the numbers soar ever higher at the gas pump. And of course, it’s not just gas prices that are rising steeply. Inflation is hitting almost every item on the grocery store shelves, as well as heating oil and other essentials. For families with babies, the baby formula shortage is adding another layer of stress and economic pain.

For people who are just barely getting by, higher prices can tip the scales towards an economic crisis.

JF&CS – with the help of all of you – is there for people facing economic crisis. We provide an integrated approach to combating economic insecurity: helping people feed their families, heat their homes, access sustainable government benefits, pay their bills, bury their loved ones, keep roofs over their heads, and more.

Below we share updates and stories about our work to help people meet their basic needs in these tough times. I hope you all feel proud of how our community comes together to support those in need. And if you or those you know need a helping hand, please know that JF&CS is here.
Gail Schulman
Chief Executive Officer
$2.15
Increase in the average price for heating oil in Massachusetts
$5.05
Average price of gas in Massachusetts
7.5%
Inflation price increase in Massachusetts in last year
Trusting in our Family Table clients
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As inflation hits a 40-year high, the cost of food is making it harder for many people to keep nutritious food on the table. Family Table, our kosher food pantry, provides hundreds of families across Greater Boston with a well-balanced assortment of essential groceries including whole grains, kosher chicken, fresh eggs, dairy items, and Jewish holiday foods.

Volunteers deliver food directly to many of our clients, offering a caring Jewish connection in addition to nutritious food. And for clients with access to transportation, our Family Table “Marketplace” option offers them the opportunity to pack their own groceries, choosing products as they wish, in a welcoming, empowering and respectful environment.

Recently, we made a change to our Marketplace policies. We used to offer a set number of grocery bags that each client could fill, based on the number of people in their family. Now, we put no limits on the number of bags clients can fill or the amount of food they can take. At first, we wondered if this “no limits” policy would be sustainable. But we’ve found that our clients are thrilled to be able to take what they need and are just as concerned about leaving enough food for their fellow shoppers as we are. This mutual trust speaks volumes about the respect and dignity built into the Family Table model.
Doubling support for people seeking government benefits
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One piece of JF&CS’s work is to help low-income clients navigate complex, burdensome systems to access government benefits they are entitled to. In the past six months, our team has addressed double the number of benefits issues such as accessing SNAP (or food stamps).

Here’s one story: Diana* is a woman who fled domestic abuse and was denied SNAP benefits due to her immigration status. We helped Diana prove she was eligible, winning six months of retroactive benefits. This reversal, along with help finding Diana health insurance, eased her financial stress and put her on a path to healing. This kind of support for Diana and other clients like her mean that they are able to access sustainable support that doesn’t relying on ongoing philanthropy from our community.
Bringing kids joy in hard times
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Camp can be essential relief for low-income families experiencing financial stress - it provides children with a happy place to have fun and provides childcare that allows working parents to continue to work.

The Arthur J. Neiterman Summer Camp Scholarship Fund was created to assist families by covering the costs of summer camp, providing kids meaningful fun and helping families enjoy life. Since starting the fund, we’ve received beautiful drawings from some of the children who have gone to camp and letters from parents that talk about the significant impact of this fund. One parent said, “Every single day, my child would come back from the camp with the happy face and a lot of emotions…I do not have enough words to say how important for me and my family that someone can help, can give you that chance to be like other people and not feel that you are nobody from nowhere."
Drawing sent in from a camp attendee
Helping families with young children cope with the formula shortage
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The birth of a new baby brings many questions: “How will the baby sleep at night?” “What will their first word be?” The question, “How will I feed my child?” should not be one of them. JF&CS created a list of resources and tips to help clients find formula during the baby formula shortage. We also created a “formula bank” to buy formula for our clients through donations from our community. Thank you to everyone who is helping our clients and their children during this challenging time.

If you would like to learn more and get involved to support our clients as they try to find baby formula and other essentials, you can email our team here.
Supporting new moms in a warzone
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For 6 years, the JF&CS Lauren & Mark Rubin Visiting Moms program has helped nurture a similar program, Mentor Moms, in Dnipro, Ukraine. Links between staff and volunteers in the two countries run deep and continue even as the Dnipro moms are raising their babies in the middle of war. One new mom lost her entire family since the war began and is now on her own with her new baby. Another mom lost her job and was then hospitalized with renal failure, exacerbating her family’s financial difficulties.

These moms in Dnipro need a steady stream of diapers, clothes, baby food, and more. JF&CS is continuing to support the Mentor Moms staff from afar. Additionally, JF&CS volunteer Marlene Bohn has stepped in to organize the collection of vital resource items to send to Mentor Moms, raising funds from across the community and finding safe routes for the items to get into Dnipro. For more information on how to get involved in this effort, contact the Temple Sinai Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Fund.

JF&CS has a long history of helping families displaced by war and violence. We work with a range of programs supporting refugee resettlement, and offer support through the Center for Basic Needs Assistance to those arriving in the U.S.
A quick and easy way to make a lasting legacy
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Did you know that you can name JF&CS as a beneficiary of retirement plans, life insurance policies, and donor-advised funds?

You simply fill out a form that is entirely separate from your will—no attorney required. It’s an easy and flexible way to make an impact. You can review and adjust beneficiary designations anytime you want or include multiple beneficiaries.

Contact Jill Snider, Senior Philanthropic Advisor, at jsnider@jfcsboston.org or by calling 508-208-2341 for more information.
Create your JF&CS Legacy today.
Help us care for those in need tomorrow.
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