Every day we wake to news of more people being diagnosed with COVID-19 and, sadly, people dying. We are asked to stay home and will do so for the foreseeable future. The more we do our part, hopefully, the quicker we will get through this pandemic.
It is amazing to understand all our community is doing. Our Jewish day schools are online, the Mittleman Jewish Community Center is providing exercise classes and programs virtually, Jewish Family and Child Service is tele-meeting with clients and meeting emergent financial needs, and our congregations are providing religious and spiritual nourishment to our community. If not for our buildings being closed, it is as if nothing has changed.
But our world is different.
Too many people have already lost their jobs. Financial challenges are stretching families. The stress of being stuck at home is difficult for many (I never thought I would long to eat out at a restaurant as much as I do now). Social isolation is happening to many. And Zoom meeting fatigue is real.
Understanding all of this, our community is here to help! Just call 503-245-6219 or click here -- if you need assistance.
At the same time, we have close to 100 volunteers who are ready and able to help. To date, over 1,250 "friendly reassurance" calls have been made to seniors in our community. In addition, volunteers are delivering food and medication to people's doors.
We are also working hard to make sure no one "falls through the cracks." We have raised money (more below) to provide emergency financial assistance, mental health support, and to work with Jewish organizations as they suffer through financial losses and may need to layoff staff.
Our community-wide crisis fund has raised $730,000. We are just short of our goal of $750,000. Your support is needed and we encourage you to make your own contribution.
These funds will be put to great use. Various task forces are already reviewing grant requests from Jewish organizations and funding decisions will be made on a weekly basis. We will be transparent with where the grants go so you can see the immediate impact you are having on strengthening our community. 100% of all dollars raised are being allocated.
In addition, we are working with every Jewish organization to best prepare them to apply for an SBA loan as part of the the $350 billion Payroll Protection Program in the CARES Act. These loans will become grants if specific criteria are met. The challenge is that funds are on a first-come, first-served basis, so early preparation and urgency matters.
One request -- we are looking for volunteers (banking, accountants, business consultants, loan officers) who have experience with SBA loans and processes to coach and guide local Jewish institutions in how to apply for the funds. If you are able to help, please click here.
In addition, to provide additional financial support, we have expanded our Jewish Free Loan program to provide $1,000 interest-free loans to individuals whose lives have been impacted by COVID-19. The loans will be "fast tracked" through our process and no co-signer is needed. Most importantly, loan repayments do not begin for 120 days and the loan recipients have 36 months to repay the loan. We have already started providing these loans. Click here to learn more or call 503-892-7417.
The central theme is that we are prepared to meet the needs of individuals, families, and organizations during this most uncertain time. Our entire Jewish community is here for you!
If you need anything, do not hesitate to reach out!