JFS looks back and ahead

By Reporter staff

Although some see the pandemic as decreasing, Jewish Family Service noted that COVID related stressors continued throughout 2022. Rose Shea, director of JFS, said those stressors complicated other economic and social problems that took place during the year.
“The last year was busy, but manageable, as JFS sought to help with a range of needs,” Shea said. “The Jewish community has always willingly and graciously helped those in need in a compassionate and caring way.”

Shea noted that one large problem is the aging Jewish population of Greater Binghamton. “Community members are looking for guidance for elder care for loved ones,” she said. “This is a challenging time for both older and younger generations, and JFS has been there to help provide resources. It helps that we have established a good rapport and good relationships with community agencies, resulting in collaborations that serve our community members. And this is not only true for the elderly population, but anyone in the Jewish community who is in need.”

She noted that there has been a steady flow of requests to assist with utilities, in addition to calls from those having other financial or emotions crises, something that has also resulted in an increase in emotional support calls. Shea noted how important it was for these people to have someone listen to them, in addition to helping them with practical support. 

Shea’s relationship with local rabbis has helped her coordinate outreach to discover those whom JFS can help. “The rabbis in our community are often the first to know that someone is in need,” she noted. “I believe they feel comfortable in directing people to JFS since we have the resources to help them and know we will treat their congregants with respect.”

While JFS helps anyone in need, its focus is on Jewish community members. One example of this is the successful We Remember You program. “JFS welcomed the generosity of community members and successfully distributed support gifts to Jewish families in need five separate times throughout 2022,” Shea said. “Our community is there for those in need.”
As utility rates increase, Shea predicts there will be an increased need for utility support and is planning the best way to help people. She also noted that she would also like to expand volunteer opportunities for community members who want to give back.

For more information about JFS, contact Shea at familyservice@jfgb.org or 724-2332.