JFed agencies offer help during tough economic times

The troubled economy is forcing people to cut back in ways they never imagined. And it’s affecting the Jewish community like never before. Jewish Federation-supported agencies are here to help those of all ages and backgrounds with financial assistance, health care, employment and senior, children and youth services.

It’s important to let the community know these services exist, said Sue Rundblad, coordinator of the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, a service of Jewish Family & Children’s Service. “Many are coming to us for the first time.”

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Layoffs, foreclosures, illness and the high price of basic needs are pushing people over the line, added Rundblad. “Without these Federation-funded programs and services, such as food and financial aid, our community couldn’t begin to touch all the lives that we do. Need might be about financial assistance, mental health, food, a scholarship, job or just someone to talk to. It’s never about just one thing when a client comes to JF &CS or to any agency for help in the Jewish Federation family.”

The Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry

Need food? The Jewish Food Pantry provides nutritionally balanced foods and will deliver to homebound clients. Often a client’s initial contact with JF &CS is through the Food Pantry. This past June was the biggest month for the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry with more than 2,300 individuals (including 325 home deliveries) and overall a 61 percent increase in clients over 2007, including a 22 percent increase in seniors who need food.

Here’s how it works: Everyone who comes in for food at JF &CS headquarters at 10950 Schuetz Rd, in Creve Coeur, is interviewed by a trained volunteer or staff person. They are asked where they live, number of people in the family, financial status, diseases, allergies and more. Then they are given a 7 to 10 day supply of food once a month.

JF &CS Emergency Financial Assistance

Can’t pay the bills? JF &CS has seen a 47 percent increase in new financial assistance cases. The number of Jewish seniors who are requesting a little financial assistance has doubled. Financial aid helps clients keep their basic needs intact. “It’s a form of crisis intervention. If someone can’t cool or heat their home or have hot water for a shower, they can’t function. If they’re short on money for rent or need an auto repair to get to work, we can help with that too,” said Sherry Hartz, financial assistance care manager.

Here’s how it works: Call the main number of JF &CS at 314-993-1000 and make an appointment with the Financial Assistance Care Manager. Bring income and expense information and the client and Financial Assistance Care Manager will work on a budget. Once the need is approved, an amount is paid toward a bill to the vendor. There’s no set amount. It can be $25 or several hundred dollars.

The Jewish Loan Association

Need a zero-interest loan? If a client is working, has a source of income but doesn’t have the funds to make a big purchase, like a used car, they will be referred to the Jewish Loan Association for a zero-interest loan of up to $3,000. These are short-term loans for those unable to get conventional loans through other means.

Here’s how it works: Call JF &CS at 314-993-1000, set up an appointment with the Financial Assistance Care Manager, come in and fill out an application. Bring the front page of a recent tax form to verify income and the ability to make monthly payments for two years. One co-signer — who must show proof of his or her income — is required for each $1,000 borrowed. It takes about two weeks to get the loan.

No one who comes to any Jewish Federation agency is treated in a vacuum. “When someone comes to JF &CS, for example, they are interviewed to find out all their needs. And we make referrals. We can help make their lives better by exploring options and different community resources,” Rundblad said.

“Equally important to helping with food or financial assistance, JF &CS wants to hear what’s going on and take an active role in the client’s worrying and budgeting. We want to make sure the client can learn how to make a difference in his or her own life,” she added.

Other Jewish Community Programs and Services

Need a job? Health or senior services? A program for children or youth? Here’s a list of Jewish Federation-supported agencies. Just give them a call or find links to community agencies online at: www.jewishinstlouis.org


* MERS/Missouri Goodwill Industries, Inc. – (314) 241-3464.

– Careers in Transition -( 314) 647-5533, ext. 115

– Employment services for unemployed/underemployed members of the Jewish community

– Career Counseling

– Employment-Oriented Interest and Personality Testing Job Search Strategies

– Resume/Cover Letter Assistance

– Job Leads

* Jewishinstlouis.org

– Career Center – (314) 432-0020

– Jewish Community Job Postings

– National Jewish Employment

– Career Advice

* St. Louis Jewish Light – (314) 743-3600

– Classified Ads

Health Care

* Jewish Family & Children’s Service – (314) 993-1000

– Counseling and Mental Health Services

– Psychological Testing and Assessment

– School-Based Social Work Services

– WINGS – for adults living with severe and chronic mental illness

– Family Mental Health Collaborative

* Barnes-Jewish Hospital – (314) 867-3627 or TOPDOCS (physician’s hotline)

– Inpatient, Outpatient and Emergency Care


* Covenant House/ CHAI Apartments (subsidized housing) – (314) 432-1610

Residents receive a wide array of caring support services including:

– Meals, transportation, housekeeping and laundry services and social, educational and recreational programs

* Jewish Community Center – (314) 432-5700

– Adult Day Care

– Group and Delivered Meals

– Wellness and Mental Health programs

* Jewish Family & Children’s Service – (314) 993-1000

– Homemaker Services

– Community Chaplaincy (visits to long-term care facilities)

– Transition Strategies (eldercare consultation & assessment)

* The Cedars at the JCA – (314) 991-1193

– Long-term Residential Care Facility

– Rehabilitation Services

– Skilled Nursing Care

– Alzheimer’s/ Dementia Care

* NORC – Naturally Occurring Retirement Community – (314) 442-3834 (for residents aged 65 and older residing in the designated NORC area)

– Minor Home Repair and Assistance

– Health and Wellness Programs

– Monthly Blood Pressure Screenings

– Professional Home Safety Assessments and Modifications at 50 percent off the total cost of equipment and installation

Children & Youth

* Jewish Community Center – (314) 432-5700 –

– Jewish Summer Programs

– Early Childhood Care

For more information about Jewish Federation’s agencies, programs and services as well as all things Jewish in St. Louis, visit www.jewishinst louis.org.