19 February 2021
Each year, the Victorian Jewish community comes together to raise funds for Jewish Care’s Community Appeal. The 2021 Appeal aims to raise $3.6 million for unfunded community services.
Without the community’s support, Jewish Care’s vital social justice programs that assist vulnerable members of the community - such as financial aid, mental health advocacy, family violence advocacy, parenting support, employment and education services and housing support - would not be possible. As we continue to adapt to the ever-changing COVID-normal environment, these services have never been more in demand.
In an average year, Jewish Care receives around 6,000 calls for support. In the 10 months after the coronavirus pandemic hit Melbourne, the organisation was inundated with over 15,000 calls for assistance from people in the community adversely affected by the global crisis. These calls continue.
Each call represents an individual or family in desperate need. Loss of employment, housing instability, food insecurity, financial stress, poor mental health, family violence and remote learning have all presented complex and overwhelming personal, familial and financial stressors. For many, including those who had never sought help, Jewish Care is the only place left to turn.
“The need in our community isn’t abstract and it isn’t happening far from us,” said Marilyn Kraner, Manager – Individual & Family Services. “The calls are coming from our neighbours, friends, family and from within our own homes.”
“We could be forgiven for thinking that things are getting back to normal. But extended and snap lockdowns, ongoing restrictions, and the winding back of State and Federal Government support measures mean that we’re finding that many who were just making ends meet are struggling more than ever.”
“Jewish Care is in a unique position to be able to assist individuals and families by tailoring a holistic range of wrap-around services to meet each person and family’s unique needs, but we can only do it with the community’s help,” continued Kraner.
As part of each year’s Community Appeal, Jewish Care shares (with permission) the story of a client whose life has been positively impacted by the services funded by the Community Appeal.
This year’s story tells of single mother Tamara* and her children. Tamara experienced debilitating depression following the loss of her job, sudden passing of her father and supporting her children with at home learning during the extended lockdown. Exacerbating an already difficult situation, Tamara’s ex-husband withdrew her access to her children, leaving Tamara unable to cope.
Like many, Tamara turned to Jewish Care. Supported by a range of services to help with both immediate and longer-term needs, Tamara is seeking counselling for her mental health, has started her own small events business and has been reunited with her children.
“The theme of this year’s Community Appeal is incredibly simple. It’s the reason Jewish Care exists,” said Chief Executive Officer, Bill Appleby. “Enriching Lives Together is about uniting to help those in need in our community, like Tamara and her children; knowing that we are stronger together and can achieve great outcomes when we are all on board.”
“Every dollar our community gives, is a commitment to individuals and families in need in our community that their calls for help will not go unanswered, that Jewish Care and our community are here in their time of need.”
Read Tamara’s story at jewishcare.org.au/2021-community-appeal
Go to jewishcare.org.au/donate or call 1800 JEWISH (1800 539 474) to give.
*Name changed to protect client privacy