What: For more than 105 years, Jewish Family Service has helped local people through programs that aim “to enhance and strengthen the quality of individual, family and community life,” said Executive Director Sheila Nudelman Abdo.
The Scranton-based organization’s services include mental health counseling, older adult services, adult guardianship, the Mae Gelb Kosher Food Pantry and Kosher Meals on Wheels. With Fortis Institute and the Scranton District Dental Society, JFS also helps Lackawanna County residents get dental care through the Dental Care Center.
What: JFS had to close its offices to clients during the pandemic, but its programs still continued. Mental health clients received care via telehealth, and while the dental center shut down temporarily, it has since resumed services. JFS also delivered meals safely while following health guidelines, with volunteers checking on meal recipients to make sure they were staying mentally and physically healthy during quarantine. Older adult and adult guardianship programs have continued in accordance with guidelines and restrictions.
Why: Abdo said the organization always needs volunteers and relies heavily on donations made through its annual campaign to continue serving the community.
“JFS operates on a sliding fee scale, and although we do accept most insurances, we help all those in need regardless of payment options or even if they are unable to pay,” she said. “The donations from the community, local agencies and grants help make sure those in need continue to get help.”
How: The organization has put its annual Community Matters event on hold, which Abdo said honors people in the community “who have been important to JFS as well as the broader community,” as it figures out the best way to continue it. JFS’s annual campaign, however, began in July and runs through June; the public can donate at jfsnepa.org.
People also can mail donations to Jewish Family Service, 615 Jefferson Ave., Scranton, PA 18510. Anyone interested in making a larger donation or giving to a specific program should call JFS’s office at 570-344-1186.
In her own words: “Our licensed social workers individually have over 20 years (of) experience in helping those in need. JFS is a community-based organization. We help our local community with the support of our local community. All donations made to JFS help those in Northeastern PA. Donations allow us to continue to support our community, which right now is being impacted more than ever. As the pandemic begins its second year, we are seeing an increase in those looking for help.” — Sheila Nudelman Abdo, executive director
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest