More than 50 elected officials and staff from Illinois' congressional delegation, the Jewish Caucus of the Illinois General Assembly and the Chicago City Council, and key volunteer leaders met via JUF-hosted video conference April 13 to get frontline updates on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting Chicago's Jewish human services agencies.
Executives from The ARK, Associated Talmud Torahs, CJE SeniorLife, JCC Chicago, JCFS Chicago, the Jewish Federation and Sinai Health System laid out how they are confronting the crisis and the challenges it has brought.
The elected leaders and staff from all three levels of government - federal, state and local - heard how dedicated and caring workers are overcoming health risks, fears and technical roadblocks to continue serving the community's most vulnerable populations.
"It was powerful to hear how nurses, doctors, assistants, janitors and so many others are keeping these organizations open and active during this very dark period for our community and our country," said Lee Miller, JUF board member and chair of JUF's Government Affairs Committee. "The agency executives provided a stark view of the reality they are facing, and the legislators and their aides made it clear they are here to help however possible."
Whether that's working to add additional support for nonprofits in the next aid package coming out of Washington, getting unpaid bills sitting in Springfield processed and paid, or connecting the agencies to local personal protective equipment providers, the elected officials said they were ready and eager to help.
JUF will continue to act as a connecting point between elected leaders and the agencies working to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.