When most of what we read or hear is of uncertainty, stories of hope strengthen our community and instill faith for a brighter future.  

A month ago, Jewish Family Services was faced with an unprecedented situation: for the first time ever, the food bank ran out of food. That same week, we were forced to cancel the critical Innovators Lunch fundraiser. Immediately after learning this, eight passionate women came together, literally overnight and asked the simple question: “How can we help?”

The newly launched JFS Community Care Hotline was reporting an average of 55 new clients a week. Meanwhile the food bank staff were deep into implementing their ambitious plan to move the food and meal program to a weekly delivery model.  Even the senior homecare and counselling programs were undergoing a remodel to ensure measures were in place that aligned with the recent health and safety guidelines.

CEO Tanja Demajo responded to the Committee’s question with a challenging truth: a minimum $500,000 would be required to keep staff employed and programs running over the next three months. 

The committee, led by campaign chair Jody Dales, was undaunted. $250,000 was quickly secured for match funds and a special video appeal was recorded by JFS Ambassador Dr. Neil Pollock.  

The emergency fundraising campaign was launched on April 5 and the community responded.  As much as the campaign officially ended on the 19th donations continued to trickle in taking the campaign total to over $800,000 including the full match.

“No one is immune to the impacts of COVID-19 yet hundreds of you have come to our aid beyond our expectations. Thank you,” says Demajo. “As you can see for yourselves, so much has changed in the last month and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for this new normal. For us, we are having to think longer-term. We are now preparing extra supports for families should this situation take us into the summer months; we are exploring innovative ideas to keep seniors more connected with their long-time friends using IPads and Tablets; and as social distancing and isolation take its toll we are developing virtual resources and planning to host group sessions as a response to the emerging needs in mental health. I look forward to keeping you updated as we formalize our next steps.”

We want to acknowledge the unparalleled leadership of Jody Dales and the Emergency Care Fund Committee: Kerri Chetner, Judith Cohen, Sue Hector, Simone Kallner, Shawna Merkur, Lana Pulver and Candice Thal. We also want to thank Bill Kaplan, Jill Diamond, and Neil Pollock for their guidance and support in helping launch this campaign. We are indebted to our generous match fund donors who stepped up at a time where we felt unsure about the future.  

And we acknowledge YOU, and the hundreds of community members who heeded our call and made a donation.  TODAH RABAH!”

Please take a moment to recognize your peers and fellow community members and agencies that supported this campaign by clicking the ‘Thank You to all of our Donors’ button below.

Thank You to All Our Donors

TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER