Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) provides vital and life-sustaining social services to more than 11,000 South Jersey residents each year—services that are even more vital during this uncertain time. As the local Covid-19 situation evolves, we remain on the job, as we have for more than 75 years. As we all adjust to our temporary new reality, one thing that will not change: our agency’s commitment to the well-being, health, and safety of our clients, staff, and volunteers. We have modified the ways we deliver direct assistance and mental health services so there is little disruption in care. While the agency is no longer seeing clients in our JFCS buildings, our professional and compassionate therapists and case managers have adapted the way they are serving all their ongoing clients, as well as those who have come forward during this crisis. Our staff is actively working to create new modes of social engagement—and while physical distancing is an important aspect of our plan, connection and creative service delivery will remain our top priorities.
Communication with our clients has been ongoing. In place of in-person therapy, our Counseling department is now using a HIPAA-compliant platform to provide remote counseling sessions to client. Our Counselors are also conducting phone check-ins with many of their clients. We are actively exploring new ways to hold virtual or online support groups to ensure that our clients have the emotional support and companionship they rely upon.
For many clients of the JFCS Betsy & Peter Fischer Food Pantries, access to food is a daily concern, and even more so in the face of coronavirus. On Monday, March 16, JFCS staff and volunteers distributed bags of non-perishable food to 50 clients in a single day. (We typically distribute 200 sets of food each month, so this was a Herculean accomplishment!) While our physical pantry locations are closed, we will be mailing gift cards to clients as needed so that they purchase food on their own. We are also making plans to deploy supermarket shopping services for clients, if needed. The need for food is ongoing for thousands of South Jersey residents, and JFCS will continue to explore new ways to provide this life-sustaining service to those in need.
Our website now includes information about the agency’s response to coronavirus. We are updating the site frequently with current and relevant information on food resources, mental health, stress relief, and more. Please visit https://jfcssnj.org/coronavirus for the most up to date information. JFCS will continue working hand in hand with the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey and our sister agencies to ensure that our community goes from strength to strength together.