Pandemic relief fund facilitates PPE purchase for local Jewish agencies

“It has been another tumultuous week in our community,” Graham Hoffman, president and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, wrote in his June 17 “Stronger Together — This Week in Our Community” email. Along with the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, the community faces the threat of the Bighorn fire in the Santa Catalina Mountains. And, amid the ongoing unrest and demonstrations around racial inequity and injustice across our nation, many are finding inspiration in the chorus of voices calling for change.

Over the last several weeks, the Jewish Community Pandemic Relief Task Force has continued to make new grants to local organizations from the Jewish Community Pandemic Relief Fund. As local Jewish agencies grapple with what it means to open their doors to the public, this has included committing up to $8,000 in funding to jump-start agency personal protective equipment readiness with joint procurement to minimize cost. The agencies involved are Jewish Family & Children’s Services, Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, Jewish History Museum/Holocaust History Center, Tucson Hebrew Academy, Tucson Jewish Community Center, and the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation.

JFCS reports that from the beginning of March until mid-June, it has used a combination of Pandemic Relief Fund and Jewish Emergency Financial Assistance (also known as LEAF) funds to help provide more than 125 households with shelter, food assistance, healthcare co-pays, utilities, and direct transportation during this challenging time.

The Tucson J reopened with limited programming on Monday, June 1. A $15,000 grant from the fund allowed the J’s signature Taglit program, to be held off campus on the property of Congregation Or Chadash (see story above).

Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Southern Arizona provides support to families with children who have been diagnosed with cancer, many of whom have been particularly affected by the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The Jewish Community Pandemic Relief Fund granted $3,000 to assist families during this time and referred them to other resources in the community, including those available through grantees JFCS and Interfaith Community Services, specialized in providing emergency financial assistance, who may be able to serve them in the longer term.