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Young Adults “Serve the Moment” For Older Adults

By AgeWell Atlanta, Atlanta Jewish Community, CARING, People in Need

Following a highly successful summer of service, Atlanta’s Serve the Moment program has now mobilized a fall cohort of young adults to address the COVID-19 crisis, its economic fallout, and the movement for racial justice here in Atlanta.

Sarah Arogeti is one of the cohort members, and she has chosen to serve through virtual visits with older adults who have been living socially isolated lives at two Jewish HomeLife residences, Berman Commons, and the William Breman Jewish Home. Due to COVID-19, Jewish HomeLife residences have not allowed visitors for many months and are only beginning to facilitate limited socially distanced in-person family visits in outdoor spaces.

Cory Shaw, who manages volunteers for Jewish HomeLife Communities, was skeptical at first. “I had my reservations about how effective virtual visits would be, but Sarah has made it a ‘natural thing.’ She has jumped in and asked our residents lots of questions about their families, where they grew up, memories of great places they’ve traveled, and helped them feel ‘connected’ and appreciative of their lives. The impact has been HUGE! in just her first six days Sarah visited with 18 residents — only two were repeat visits. Serve the Moment’s “get-to-know-you visits” have been a wonderful antidote to feelings of isolation and loneliness.”

Serve the Moment received $60,000 to run a Summer and Fall Service Corps with Repair the World, and is now working with more than 15 service partners.

Meals for Homebound Holocaust Survivors

By AgeWell Atlanta, Atlanta Jewish Community, CARING, People in Need

Thanks to a partnership with The Epstein School cafeteria, JF&CS was able to deliver free prepared meals to Holocaust Survivors and low-income house-bound older adults, many of whom wondered where they would find their next meal. Anat Granath, a Social Worker with the Holocaust Survivor Program, says that although they were reluctant to use the Kosher Food Pantry service at first, many have found the program to be extremely helpful. 

“Many Holocaust Survivors used to have caregivers, but because of the virus they are asking their caregivers not to come. So, there’s really nobody to shop for them, and many of them don’t have children or family members that live close by that they can rely on food delivery on a regular basis.” Granath also emphasizes the importance of food security to Holocaust Survivors. “I think sometimes, even just knowing that somebody tells you ‘you won’t go hungry again,’ we can’t underestimate what that means to a client who has felt hunger for many, many years. And many of them are benefiting from the Kosher Food Pantry, which is wonderful,” she said.  

Many of Granath’s clients have expressed their appreciation and gratitude for both the food that JF&CS has provided to them, and for the feeling that someone in the world is thinking of them and taking care of them. As the pandemic continues, the need continues to grow for food and supplies. Thankfully, our community has stepped up to help.  

Last year, over a 12-month period, 1,931 people were helped by the Kosher Food Pantry, and 17,500 pounds of food was distributed. This year, in the period between March 13 and July 3, 2020, 2,882 people were served, and 66,469 pounds of food were distributed. That’s the equivalent of three years’ worth of food distributed in four months  

JF&CS received an allocation $40K from the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for food support. 

Sparking Conversations to Leave a Legacy

By AgeWell Atlanta, Atlanta Jewish Foundation

Sparking Conversations to Leave a Legacy
Fueled by a lifetime of volunteerism, fundraising and Jewish community advocacy, Stephanie Abes found it easy to say “yes” when asked to represent Federation Women’s Philanthropy in the LIFE & LEGACY® initiative of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. LIFE & LEGACY, now in its second year in Atlanta, provides training, support and incentives to secure endowments for Atlanta’s Jewish future.

“It was the right time in my life to help spark and steer conversations with my peers about leaving a legacy gift to our community,” Stephanie says.  “As I’ve progressed in my commitments as a Jewish woman, I can see that all I’ve worked for over the years leads to this. There are so many motivations to support LIFE & LEGACY. When I see the outstanding education my grandchildren enjoyed in our Jewish day schools, and as I watch my grown children step up and serve on the boards of our backbone agencies, I want all these organizations to be strong and sustainable going forward. It’s up to me and my family to ensure that these Jewish institutions continue for future generations.”

LIFE & LEGACY is a joint venture between Atlanta Jewish Foundation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation with a goal to build robust endowments that will support the financial future of Atlanta’s synagogues, day schools, and core Jewish organizations. Currently, 18 different Atlanta Jewish organizations are in training with fundraising professionals from LIFE & LEGACY, learning how identify potential donors and have values-based conversations with them to secure legacy commitments to the places they care about most. By participating in these trainings, Stephanie has discovered there are many ways to leave a legacy.

Abes underscores that anyone can make a legacy gift, not just the wealthy. “LIFE & LEGACY gifts can be after lifetime gifts, enabling the donor to give more than they ever thought possible during their lifetime.  The trainings have opened my eyes to the many options that exist for planning and ultimately committing to a legacy gift.  For example, a person can designate a portion of their IRA to organizations they care about so they can continue doing their amazing work into the future.”

Stephanie was moved by a story presented in training of a woman with modest assets. The woman wanted to support her synagogue’s future but didn’t think she had the means. She realized that her small condo was a possible resource, so she checked in with her kids to ask if, upon her death, making that asset a legacy gift was OK with them. Her children let her know that they’d be fine if she did it.

“Stories like that give me the tools to open up conversations with friends about making a legacy gift. I tell them, I’m not your financial planner, but through Atlanta Jewish Foundation, you can get the advice you need. They can help you look at your assets and determine what makes sense for you.

“My experiences co-chairing Federation’s Community Campaign, plus serving on the overseas allocations committee took me to our sister city of Minsk many times. Seeing the magnitude of human need for Jews in Minsk, made me realize how important it is to support Jewish infrastructure there. And of course, it reminds me that we should be proud and grateful for the incredible Jewish institutions we have in Atlanta. They need our support, too. If I can be an influencer to help someone make a gift that ensures the Jewish future here, I’m happy to do it.”

AgeWell Atlanta: A Concierge Approach to Aging

By AgeWell Atlanta, Atlanta Jewish Community, CARING

When “R’s” mother voluntarily handed over her car keys and announced to the family that she was ready to give up driving, there was relief all around. But suddenly, new challenges emerged. How would this lively woman, now in her 90s, get to the places she needs and wants to go? Her daughter was on board to take Mom to doctor’s appointments, but how would she keep up social connections with friends, grooming sessions and vet appointments for her dog, and trips to the grocery store to maintain her vital sense of independence?

One call to Jennifer Curry, who is AgeWell Atlanta’s Information & Referral Concierge/Manager, put several good transportation options on the table for the family. Through AgeWell Atlanta, they’ve learned that rides are available on weekdays from Alterman JETS transportation, but not for pets (unless they are service animals), and that companions will take older adults grocery shopping. Curry continues to help the family strategize about Lyft and other ride services for Mom.

AgeWell Atlanta’s level of personalized and coordinated referral is something new and rare. You have a single entry point for guidance and information — you can call (1-866-AGE-WELL), send an email, or visit the website, Your query goes to Jennifer Curry, a real person who takes an individual approach to finding the services you need.

As the face of AgeWell Atlanta, Curry comes to this work with a Masters of Public Health and was previously an I&R specialist in aging services for the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Area Agency on Aging & Disability. Becoming AgeWell Atlanta’s Concierge Manager appealed to her because of the high level of inter-agency cooperation that exists in the Jewish community.

“I was excited to offer truly coordinated care,” Curry says. “AgeWell Atlanta takes I&R to such an intimate and personal level. With the combined resources of AVIV Older Adult Services of JF&CS, the Marcus JCC, Jewish HomeLife and Federation behind me, I have the ability to close the loop for people.  When someone asks me something I can’t answer right away, I can follow up with the right professionals and get back to them. Client confidentiality is assured and there is no charge for your call.”

Explore the AgeWell Atlanta website and learn more about the wealth of local resources that help mature adults live rich, full lives, and support for their caregivers, too.

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