Jacob, a husband and father of three young children, was the sole income source for his family. When the pandemic hit, his job in sales was immediately affected, eventually resulting in his layoff. His wife has been able to find part-time work while Jacob stays home with 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.
Ruth 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 with her utilities so she can afford to run the air conditioner during the hot summer.
These are just two examples of people who receive support from Jewish Federation’s Chesed Fund. The fund helps members of the Kansas City Jewish community with chronic financial challenges. In the past few months, Federation’s Coronavirus Emergency Relief Fund, an offshoot of the Chesed Fund, has provided dedicated dollars to those who have lost jobs/income during the pandemic and have expenses that they can no longer cover.
Since its inception in 2007, the need for the Chesed Fund has been demonstrated again and again, as our community has weathered crises and extended additional assistance to help Holocaust survivors meet their basic needs and live in dignity. In 2019 alone, the fund provided approximately $132,000 to those in need.
The fund was established with a $50,000 grant from the Menorah Legacy Foundation, which continues to provide financial support for the fund. The Chesed Fund has also 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 a person’s synagogue, the Chesed 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.