March 17th, 2020

Jewish Michiana,

While events over the past few weeks have been unprecedented, Jewish Family Services is working to ensure that the needs of our community are being fulfilled. I have already been contacted by many members of our community asking how they can help during this current situation, and I am grateful that we have a community that is so ready to give. I have recently contacted our congregational Rabbis and Synagogue Presidents and am now reaching out to let everyone know what JFS is doing to help in the community, as well as to share ways that you can help. I know that, as always, we will rise up together as a community to support and be supported by one another.

The first area I would like to address is the immediate, tangible needs of community members. All current JFS clients are being contacted to assess their needs and ensure that they have necessary items. In addition, in consultation with the Food Pantry Committee, we are asking that those in the community who are not current clients but are in need of essential household items please contact me, Charmagne LaFortune, or Nancy Kennedy directly. Our Jewish Family Services Food Pantry has some essential hygiene items, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that everyone has what they need.

In addition, many of our community members are becoming more isolated. School closings, remote work policies, restriction of group activities and worship services, and closing healthcare and assisted-living facilities to the public are prudent measures to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19. While we cannot currently congregate in our normal fashion, our staff and volunteers can ensure that everyone in the community is connected by phone, text and/or email. For those who are physically isolated, we will ensure that they remain connected in the days to come.

If you are not currently a JFS client, and are home-bound, immunocompromised, or otherwise at high-risk, please contact me directly! Currently, we can help you to obtain hygiene or other essential household items, and/or connect you to our check-in call list.

Now, I am asking for your help in two ways:

1. If you are able to volunteer and help us ensure that our community members maintain regular contact with others, please contact me. Our staff will work to connect volunteers to everyone who is physically isolated, so that we can offer each other contact, conversation and fellowship on a regular basis. Volunteers will not be in physical contact with others, only in contact via calls/texts/emails.

2. If you know someone who is physically isolated, please encourage them to contact me, Charmagne or Nancy, and we will work to keep them connected via phone/text/email.

My phone number is 574-233-1164 ext. 1804.
My cell phone number is 574-309-1213,
and my email is .

Charmagne’s number is 574-233-1164 ext.1806,
and her email address is .

Nancy’s phone number is 269-405-7808,
and her email address is .

We look forward to hearing from and working with everyone in the community. I feel very fortunate that whatever tomorrow brings, we will face it together as one small but mighty Jewish community.


Rowan Kelley
Jewish Family Services Director