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

I hope this finds you and your loved ones well, and that you were able to enjoy some of the unseasonably warm days we have had over the last few weeks.

At JFS, October 1st was an important day on the calendar as it marked the beginning of our new fiscal year when we put our goals for the year into action. Our team lives the JFS mission every day – steadfastly providing assistance to those who need our help the most – and this month has been an exciting time as we hit the ground running, ready to tackle the important work that our community depends on us to complete. Here are a few updates:

~ During the last year, our Exec Team and Board has engaged in a strategic planning process that will guide our decision-making for the next five years. Watch our website as more information will be posted in the coming weeks.

~ JFS was proud to stand up to hate and spread love as part of this month’s Indigenous Peoples Day celebration, that was supported by and coordinated through a collaboration of JFS, the Greater Framingham Community Church, Jewish Teen Initiative at CJP, Nipmuc Nation, Framingham Public Schools, and Temple Shir Tikva. Click here to learn more about this important event.

~ October also featured National Hispanic Heritage month (September 15-October 15) and during this time we published interviews with staff and board members Cesar Stewart-Morales and Dr. F. Javier Cevallos (profiled below) who spoke about what their Hispanic heritage means to them. Many thanks to all who participated - click here learn more.

~ Update on the Afghan Evacuee Crisis project - the work of this project has begun. To date we have welcomed two families with young children to the Greater Boston/Metrowest area, and we are making plans for the next two families to arrive. Major kudos to Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships Lucia Panichella, Case Manager Nermin Helaly (profiled below) and our immigrant services staff as they provide professional case management and coordination. Also, many thanks to Manager of Volunteer Services and Community Engagement Gail Gregory as she works diligently to ensure the team has the support they need to assist these incoming families. Click here to learn how you can help.

~ I am also excited to highlight a blog post that was recently published that celebrates Citizenship Day and announces that the Bayyads, a family resettled in 2017 through the Syrian Refugee Humanitarian Project, are now eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship and with the help of our team, are in the process of finalizing their paperwork. While their story is unique, it represents the success families such as these can achieve with the right guidance and support. Congratulations to the Bayyad family as they reach this significant milestone in their immigration journey. Click here to learn more.
~ While some may feel that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, the damage caused by many months of employment, childcare, health and academic disruptions continues to wreak havoc in the lives of our community’s most vulnerable. Responding to the increased need for services, JFS is expanding the team and looking for talented, experienced professionals to fill several positions. New job openings include Senior Philanthropy Associate, Geriatric Care Management Associate and Homecare Coordinator.

Working at JFS is one way to have significant, positive impact in our community, and if any of the available positions interest you, please apply today.

Another way get involved is through volunteering. Sign up to attend a future training to become an Active Bystander. Scroll down to meet our board members, student interns and Americorps members and others who invest their time, talents and energy to help shape and drive the work of JFS. Whether you have a lot of time to give or just a few hours a month, there is something for everyone.

Or, make a donation now. It is only through the contributions of our many supporters that we can help over 7,500 people each year.

JFS is your vehicle for doing good in our community - join us in this important work and let’s make a difference together.

Lino Covarrubias, CEO
F. Javier Cevallos
Place of Employment/Career Affiliation: Framingham State University, President since 2014

Education: Ph. D., M.A University of Illinois. BA University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez

Javier believes that we live in the most prosperous country in the world, and yet many of our community members face incredible difficult times. JFS is committed to making our community better, by helping those in need.

He is particularly grateful for the commitment JFS has to support education for children of economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Education is one of the most powerful tools to help break the poverty cycle and lift families to a better socio-economic status.

Javier is also drawn by JFS’ commitment to helping refugees as they come into our region. The work that JFS professionals and volunteers do makes a difference!

Recently, JFS proudly celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, during which we interviewed members of our board and staff to get their perspectives on what this celebration means for them and for our community. Click here to read our interview with Javier!
Jay Gainsboro

Place of Employment/Career Affiliation: Jay is retired. He spends his free time coaching and consulting various nonprofits and studying, teaching, and facilitating Mussar groups and other forms of Jewish Spirituality.

Education: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, BS Management with an emphasis in engineering.

Jay believes JFS has a significant impact on the social needs of thousands of people in the Metrowest area. It accomplishes this by leveraging low or no cost volunteer resources, partnerships with other nonprofit organizations, and through the design and implementation of best in class operations. He feels it is a privilege to be involved with JFS.
Barbara Schultz
Place of Employment/Career Affiliation: Barbara is a “recovering” attorney working part-time in a family business manufacturing household cleaners and products.

Education: Cornell University and Boston University School of Law

Barbara joined the JFS Board because she wanted to support an organization dedicated to improving the lives of the most vulnerable in our local community. Through grass-roots outreach efforts and strategic partnerships, JFS is uniquely situated to effect systemic change.

Barbara feels her support makes a real difference and is proud to align herself with the mission and values of JFS through her board membership. She particularly enjoys her work on the Governance and Nominating committee helping to ensure strong future leadership, as well as hands-on volunteer opportunities
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!
Noreen Begley
Volunteer Since August 2017
Noreen is a retired IT business analyst who enjoys being active. She likes to golf, do yoga and exercise classes (all online now), and read. Noreen looks forward to being able to travel again soon. 
Noreen volunteers in the Patient Navigator program where she is always willing to go above and beyond for clients in the program. Although Noreen has adjusted her exercise plans to online and has put her travel on hold for now, she continued to take clients to medical appointments throughout the pandemic. In addition, to this key role, Noreen is also helping out on an inventory project at the Framingham Public Schools Resource Room.  

“I think the Patient Navigator program is such an important service to seniors in Metrowest. When I was working full-time and my elderly parents lived in western Massachusetts, I often felt bad that I couldn't go to medical appointments with them. I would have been so grateful to have caring volunteers drive them, ask questions on their behalf and relieve the stress of seeing medical providers.” 
Susan Driscoll
Volunteer Since April 2014
Susan is a retired RN who is passionate about living her best life. She considers herself to be caring, loyal, and determined. Family and friends are the centers of her life. Golf and travel take a tight second. 
Susan’s primary volunteer role is as a Patient Navigator, but she has also stepped up to deliver meals to seniors for Rosh Hashanah and Passover. Susan is a true advocate for JFS, whether it’s connecting us with available PPE or recruiting her friend and fellow book club member, Noreen Begley (more on Noreen above!) to become a Patient Navigator.  
"My work at JFS is so much of who I am. Being a retired RN, caring and giving are still so much a part of me. The elderly are such an underserved population. Being a Patient Navigator can make such a difference in a senior’s day. Navigating the health care system is difficult for anyone, especially the elderly. I advocate for them when their voices are not heard."
Nermin Helaly, Ph.D.

Senior Supervisor / Specialist III
With JFS since September 2016
Speaks Arabic and English
Country of Birth: Egypt 

It is my pleasure working at JFS and assisting its mission. JFS works on understanding the community's needs and looking for the best ways to meet them. Also, JFS plays a vital role in building a healthy community by providing critical services and providing relief for people when it’s hard to find it elsewhere. In addition, JFS provides support during the most difficult times.

The Immigrant Services is one of the most important services at JFS because it raises awareness of the plight of millions of people who are forced to leave their homes because of violence, war, and persecution. And JFS always opens the door when someone in danger knocks.

As JFS welcomed and resettled 8 Syrian families (16 adults and 17 kids) 5 years ago, now JFS is working hard to support Afghan evacuees. We have successfully welcomed 2 families (four adults and 3 children) so far and working hard to help them get settled and adjusted to their new life.
On Monday, October 11, over 100 people, including members of the Nipmuc Nation, gathered to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day, stand up to hate, and spread love.

The ceremony was supported by and a collaboration of the Greater Framingham Community Church, JFS of Metrowest, Jewish Teen Initiative at CJP, Nipmuc Nation, Framingham Public Schools, and Temple Shir Tikva.
JFS of Metrowest’s Healthy Aging Initiative and NORC Program joined the Hastings House residents for their weekly Wii Bowling match.

Activities like this encourage residents to leave their apartments and socialize with each other and staff. They also promote physical activity, stimulate conversation, elevate the seniors’ moods, and provide staff with more information about residents’ mental and physical health to support them better.
JFS staff arrived at Dana Hall with over two dozen boxes of clothing donations for the JFS Children’s Clothing Closet. Stationed in Dana Hall’s fencing room, the students spent hours going through the boxes to remove tags and sort the clothing. These are critical and time-consuming steps to prepare for the distribution of clothing to families in need.

Thank you, Dana Hall!
Introducing JFS's New Interns, Jared, Maggie, Mary, Jennifer, Marleigh, Lindsey, and Vanessa and Americorps Member, Evan.
This month, Rashi School teens collected over 250 pairs of new socks and underwear for the JFS Children’s Clothing Closet, under the guidance of Dean of Students Joni Fishman, Director of Social Justice Stephanie Rotsky, and Social Justice Assistant Sherman Goldblum. 

We value our ongoing partnership with the Rashi School.
In 2016, when over 5 million refugees had already fled Syria, JFS responded to the crisis by leading the JFS Syrian Refugee Humanitarian Project, a coalition of 17+ partner organizations from area synagogues, Islamic centers, academia, and the medical community.

We’re thrilled to share the Bayyads are the first family eligible for citizenship from the JFS Syrian Refugee Humanitarian Project. They have taken the Citizenship class offered via a partnership between JFS and FAESL. JFS will help them complete their forms and continue preparing for their citizenship exam as they await a date. We are excited and honored to support the Bayyads as they reach this significant milestone in their immigration journey.

To learn more about our JFS Immigrant and Resettlement services programs and how you can get involved, click here!
JFS and Community Partners Provide Shoes
and Winter Coats to Those in Need
Become a Patient Navigator!
Join our Patient Navigator team and accompany older adults to medical appointments, easing the stress of the appointment for both the patient and their families.

You’ll help older adults prepare for upcoming medical appointments, serve as a companion at the appointment, facilitate communication between doctor and patient, and take notes during the visit.

Patient Navigator is a flexible volunteer opportunity that can work with your schedule! We ask you to commit to a minimum of 4 appointments per year. All appointments are during daytime hours.

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 Dreamand 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.

If you love your house, but your house doesn’t love you back, call the experts at 
Allies in Aging JFS Elder Care Solutions. They will help you make the
housing choice that is right for you! 

Ask Ally is written by Malka Young, LICSW,
Director of Allies in Aging JFS Elder Care Solutions

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

Helping individuals and families with life’s ups,
downs, and everything in between.

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.

JFS Supports Our Veterans
Did you know financial benefits are available to low-income
veterans and their dependents in Massachusetts?

 Visit the MASS VET BENEFIT CALCULATOR website to learn more.

Guide to Veterans Affairs benefits and loans – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers many benefits for eligible veterans.
If you are feeling compelled to provide assistance to an incoming Afghan refugee family and would like to partner with JFS, please click the link below to get the latest updates on current needs. Thank you for your caring as these families seek safe haven in our community.
We are happy to announce that the JFS Lucy and Joe Press Food Pantry has been selected for Stop & Shop's Bloomin' 4 Good Program!

For the month of October 2021, Lucy and Joe Press Food Pantry has been selected to receive a $1 donation for every $10.99 Bloomin' 4 Good Bouquet with the red circle sticker (pictured above) sold at the store located at 235 Old Connecticut Path, Framingham MA.

Help to fight food insecurity and support JFS by
purchasing a Bloomin' 4 Good bouquet at
this Stop & Shop location!
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 Barbara, Javier, Jay, Nermin, Noreen, Susan, 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 | |