JCS building closed but team, volunteers still serve community


As with so many other organizations in the Rhode Island Jewish community, Jewish Collaborative Services (JCS) closed their building this week. But they haven’t stopped offering services to the community.

“The importance of a social service agency in the Jewish community is significant now more than ever,” said Erin Minior, president and CEO of JCS. “Staff have been working hard to support our clients and community as their needs intensify during this COVID-19 crisis.  JCS is experienced working with individuals and families who live in a chronic state of disarray and we are prepared to help them as they face increased challenges in the weeks ahead.”

The agency has said it will be available in the following ways:

  • Staff will continue to respond to client calls and emails, connecting clients to community resources, checking on clients who have activated their Lifelines, and answering requests for technical support in the Lifeline RI Program.
  • Volunteers will continue to offer support by making phone calls to individuals through the Partners in Care program.
  • Isolated and vulnerable seniors will continue to receive daily meals through the Kosher Nutrition program, including kosher meals delivered to meal site participants due to the closure of the meal site.
  • JERI staff will stay connected to nursing home residents by telephone - per RIDOH recommendations, they will NOT be visiting nursing homes.
  • Kesher will continue to offer support and will remain in contact with congregants through their rabbis.
  • As a result of increased anxiety and depression, The Counseling Center will be available for tele-mental health sessions. If interested, contact Jeremy Thayer at 401-331-1244. On March 19, JCS hosted a community-wide Zoom meeting called Managing Mental Health During COVID-19. Additional Breakout sessions will be available at jfsri.org.
  • All services at Tamarisk Assisted Living Residence will continue as usual but visits are suspended until further notice.
  • Shalom Affordable Housing has canceled its programming, including their meal site. Meals are being packaged and will be delivered outside tenant doors.
  • On March 15, a group of volunteers and JCS staff spent much of their day preparing 600 bags of food for families who are food insecure, including kosher-for-Passover foods – enough to hold them over through the Passover holiday.

In addition, JCS will be working to identify individuals who reside in Ward 3 in Providence, triaging requests from members of the community and connecting with over 100 volunteers who have come forward to offer their assistance to those who are more vulnerable in the community. This initiative was spearheaded by Nirva LaFortune, City Councilor for Ward 3 (Mount Hope, Summit, Collyer Park and Blackstone). Minior adds, “We are privileged to be working in such a caring community. As it is stated in Deuteronomy, ‘A community is too heavy for anyone to carry alone.’ ”

For more information on how you can help, visit jcsri.org. To donate, send checks to JCS, 1165 North Main St., Providence, RI 02904, attention COVID-19 Relief.