JCA and JewishCare have today (Thursday) launched a $1 million COVID-19 Jewish Emergency Relief Fund to help members of the NSW Jewish community in financial crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of a broad communal response, the new emergency operations centre (EOC) established under the Jewish Emergency Management Plan (JEMP), operated by the Community Security Group (CSG), is also now up and running.
In launching the fund, which will see an initial pool raised with the help of JCA donors distributed through JewishCare, JCA president Stephen Chipkin said, “If we can’t care for our most vulnerable, then we are falling short of our basic Jewish responsibility.
JCA Announces COVID-19 Jewish Emergency Relief Fund – in partnership with JewishCare, the $1 million fund will help community members in crisis. Watch the video announcement from JCA President, Stephen Chipkin. For more information and to apply visit http://www.jewishcare.com.au/about/covid-19.
פורסם על ידי JCA ב- יום רביעי, 1 באפריל 2020
“People are doing it tough,” he continued.
“The government is doing an amazing job to ensure people can survive this crisis, but we do have members of our community who fall through the cracks.”
The fund, which will operate supplementary to government support, will cover essentials such as food, shelter, medicines and other critical goods or services for an amount of up to $5000 per family. Applicants will be assessed by JewishCare.
Noting that many will be in isolation this Pesach – a time when families and friends usually come together – Chipkin said financial support is “just one aspect” and praised the emotional care and support that JewishCare and other organisations are providing to many in the community “who are struggling keenly with feelings of isolation and anxiety”.
He said JCA will continue to assess changing needs in the community and look at how to provide support, including by increasing the funding pool if necessary.
“There are significant needs for support within our community right now and our community organisations are doing an excellent job addressing those across the spectrum. There’s a lot to attend to,” he said.
“JCA is in a strong position to support the community through this and to ensure that all our organisations can focus on addressing community needs. Of course, we remain reliant on the continued support of donors. That has always been the case.”
Expressing gratitude to those donors, he said, “Without them, over the years and now, the incredible service provision across our organisations grinds to a halt.”
Echoing that importance, JewishCare president Jason Sandler said there would be more needs in the community as the year progresses “and we need to look after each other”.
“We were both thinking about it [the fund] at the same time – JCA came to us with the idea of doing it as a coordinated approach,” he explained.
Describing the pandemic as “a financial and a health crisis”, Sandler said the health component also relates to mental health and said it is important to watch out for people’s welfare through the outbreak.
“The longer it goes on, the more risk you have because people are isolated for longer,” he said.
He said many other needs would arise as the pandemic continues and encouraged people in the community “to call us and reach out”.
“JewishCare is absolutely there to help the community in any way we can and this fund is a first step in providing somewhat of a financial safety net,” he said.
JCA CEO Alain Hasson labelled the fund an unprecedented collaboration between JCA and a member organisation.
“It’s a great example of how we should be working in this community during a mounting crisis and I thank JewishCare for partnering with us,” he said.
“This is the first step in a likely broader response by JCA and our community organisations to address the constantly changing issues that our community and our members are facing. We are adapting as quickly as we can to evolving needs, while endeavouring to ensure we supplement, rather than replace or duplicate, government support.”
He also cited mental health services as another significantly important and mounting issue and said JCA will work with JewishCare and other organisations to ensure communal services are prepared to meet demand.
With the NSW communal leadership having activated the JEMP in March, he said JCA was also “very much integrated with the JEMP financial committee and we will respond to where the most critical funding needs are identified”.
Fund information: 1300 133 660, email@example.com or www.jewishcare.com.au.
JEMP EOC hotline: 1300 JEMP AU (1300 536 728).
JEMP information: csgnsw.org.au/covid-19-response.
Government info: australia.gov.au.