St. Louis JCC rehires all full-time staff after receiving federal loan

The Jewish Community Center near Creve Coeur

By Eric Berger, Associate Editor

The St. Louis Jewish Community Center has received a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the federal government and rehired its entire full-time staff and some part-time staff after furloughing more than 100 staff members and reducing pay and hours for others two weeks ago.

The loan, part of the government effort to support the economy during the pandemic, provides the nonprofit with money to cover 2½ months of payroll. The loan is forgivable if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration 

“This will allow us to expand our outreach for our members and program participants and will also allow us to prepare for when we are able to reopen,” said Lynn Wittels, president and CEO of the J.

That could mean more programming like a dance party for participants in the J’s program for young adults with disabilities on the Zoom online meeting platform, Wittels said.

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Other staff will assist the J, which has been closed since mid-March, in preparing to reopen. The organization hopes to open for the summer pool and camp season.

“It would help if we all had ample testing, but in a world of social distancing, once the stay-at-home order is lifted, we are going to do our best to serve the community’s needs as we always have, just in different ways,” Wittels said. “We may continue to do virtual programming in some areas and open in-person programming in others.”