Give for free: meet Tom Beck
The following interview is part of the Philanthropy Roundtable’s “Free to Give” series, which highlights the impact philanthropy can have when Americans have the right to freely give to the causes and communities they care about most. . Find out more here.
“Our pantry has grown from 2,600 people served in 2019 – which was already a record for us – to around 1,600 people per month in 2020. I’ve been on the adrenaline rush for about nine months now.”
“We are one of the few Jewish family services in the country to provide so many comprehensive services to families and the elderly, from meals on wheels and home health care to transportation and career counseling. The agency started in 1912 as a Hebrew free loan. society and has evolved over the years to become a non-sectarian health and social service provider. ”
“Every part of the agency has been affected by this pandemic. The need was just incredible. In 2019, our home care program provided perhaps 90,000 hours of service. In 2020, it was closer to 120,000 hours.
“I step into our pantry, which is here on the agency grounds, and I see the desperation and gratitude of those who received the food, toys and coats. Sometimes I had to leave because I would basically start sobbing. “
“I hear stories where families have been broken up and our highly trained mental health staff have been there, virtually, to rebuild lives.”
“We turned our agency upside down in a month to meet the needs caused by COVID-19. Donors – through various funds, including donor-advised funds and the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ – have really helped. The community has truly come together around us during this time of urgency and need. ”
“As a result of our care, no one we serve has entered a nursing home – not one in nine months – because of our home care and nursing services, meals on wheels and transport services. ”
“Our donors, often through donor-advised funds with the Jewish Federation and others, have given their hearts and funds. They have funded the work of this agency in many ways, and their support has been extremely helpful. to enable us to meet the many needs of the community.
“A donor, who gave through a donor advised fund, helped make our Virtual Seniors Center program possible. Juniper – our name for the program – offers live interactive programs and a library of remote activities. It is very easy to use. It has helped us to reach out to the isolated and homebound older people and bring them a certain resemblance to a social life, so that they don’t feel so isolated during this time. ”
“The funds advised by the donors have enabled our supporters to react quickly in the event of a crisis and to meet our needs. There is no bureaucracy. Working with the Federation in this area has allowed us to respond to our needs very quickly. I spoke to a donor about a special need, got that pledge and received a check four days later.
“We couldn’t have done our job and responded like we did without it. I’m very proud of what we were able to do here and the lives we touched with our response. It was wonderful to see the best-hearted people come together to support us and make our mission possible. ”
– Tom Beck, Executive Director of the Jewish Family Services of Central New Jersey in Elisabeth, New Jersey
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