A program started in mid-March by Chabad South County Jewish Center to offer care packages to local families and senior citizens sheltering in place has been so helpful that the effort has expanded to include anyone in need or isolated due to the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The program started shortly after statewide stay-home orders forced the Morgan Hill-based Chabad South County Jewish Center to pause their regular programming, including adult education and youth activities, Chabad South County Director Rabbi Mendel Liberow said in a press release. As a result, Liberow said the Jewish Center understood the need to adapt to the community’s unique needs during the shelter-in-place directives and social distancing requirements.
The center canceled their Passover Seder and moved adult education classes online to Zoom. They also reached out to local seniors and homebound families, offering their assistance and a helping hand.
“There are many people here who were isolated without family or other support,” said Liberow. “And we found that many people were feeling alone. But that’s what Chabad is about, being there for the Jewish community in a time of need.”
The care program for homebound community members began with volunteers making phone calls to check in on people living alone, and offering to do their grocery shopping for them, Liberow continued. The Chabad Jewish Center also began an ongoing program to deliver care packages to the elderly and homebound.
At first, recipients included residents in need known to Chabad South County Jewish Center staff and program organizers, Liberow said. It has since grown in availability to the “entire community” and anyone who requests a care package will receive one.
“Social isolation is really challenging,” said Liberow’s wife and Chabad co-director Chani. “People were so grateful for the love that went into it. The packages were a reminder that the community is thinking of them.”
The care packages are delivered every Friday to allow Jewish residents to celebrate Shabbat at home, Liberow said. The care packages include fresh challah, hot chicken soup and traditional Shabbat candles.
“Thank you once again for your care and concern,” wrote Carol Moran on Facebook after receiving her Shabbat bag. “It was so good to see your masked face at my door today. I really want to thank you guys for all you do to make things better in our community during these hard times. It is heartwarming to know that people you may not even know are thinking about you. Bless you!”
Chabad is a nonprofit organization, funded exclusively by local donations, according to Liberow. More information is available at www.jewishmh.com.