Jacob, a husband and father of three young children, was the sole breadwinner of his family. A debilitating injury left him unable to work. Now on disability, his wife is only able to work part time in order to help take care of Jacob and their children. The family has gone through most of their savings and he and his wife are worried about how they will get by in the coming months.
Esther is a widow of 20 years who lives on a fixed income. Some months she faces the dilemma of how to pay for her blood pressure medication and keep up on the gas bill so she can keep her heat turned on during the winter.
These are just two examples of Jewish community members in Kansas City who receive support from Jewish Federation’s Chesed Fund. The fund helps Jewish residents living in the Greater Kansas City metro area whose financial situation makes it difficult to support themselves.
The Chesed Fund, created in 2007, was established to help KC-area members of the Jewish community with chronic financial challenges. Even before the economic recession that would come in the following years, the Federation saw a rising need for financial assistance among the most vulnerable members of our community. Since its inception, the need for the Chesed Fund has only continued to grow. In 2018-19 alone, the Chesed Fund will require more than $110,000 to help those facing chronic financial challenges.
“From our experience and the number of people we serve, we know there is always a need for more money,” said Derek Gale, Jewish Federation director of community building and allocations. “We have been fortunate—thanks to the community’s generosity—not to have to turn anyone away where there’s a validated need.”
The fund was established with a $50,000 grant from the Menorah Legacy Foundation, which continues to provide financial support for the fund. Since it began, the Chesed Fund has received generous support from Jewish Federation, the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City, private foundations, and individual contributors. The fund is administered by the Jewish Federation in partnership with Jewish Family Services, which works directly with the fund’s recipients.
Outside of a person’s synagogue, the fund is the only Jewish community assistance program available to those with chronic financial needs. For many, it is a life-saving service. It’s the difference between having a place to live or being homeless, having food on the table or going hungry.
“The Jewish Federation has identified safety net services as one of its highest priorities,” said Dr. Helene Lotman, Jewish Federation president and CEO. “I can think of no higher purpose we have than to help those in need. By contributing to the Chesed Fund, you are assisting the most vulnerable in our community, and giving them the gift of living with dignity.”
The Chesed Fund needs your support to ensure we can continue to help those most in need. To donate to the Chesed Fund, contact Derek Gale at 913.327.8123, send a check to Chesed Fund, c/o Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, 5801 W. 115 Street, Suite 201, Overland Park, KS 66211, or click here to donate online.