(KANSAS CITY, MO – February 9, 2017) Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) and Jewish Family Services (JFS) are joining forces to help the Kansas City refugee community with much-needed food and transportation beginning next month. JVS is the largest refugee resettlement agency in the metropolitan area, resettling over 5,000 refugees in the Kansas City community since 2004.
Last year alone, JVS resettled almost 600 refugees from 14 different countries.
While recent decisions by the Federal Government mean that very few new refugees will be coming to Kansas City for at least the next four months, many of the recently resettled families find themselves with ongoing financial needs after the brief three-month period when they receive financial support from the U.S. government.
Two of the greatest areas of need for these new Americans are food and transportation. To help meet these needs, JVS and JFS are announcing a new partnership to improve the lives of these families.
JFS will open its new food pantry located in East Brookside to the community served by JVS. Monthly food boxes will be prepared and delivered by volunteers under the direction of the JFS food pantry staff. A typical monthly food box for a refugee family of five might include five pounds of rice, four bags of beans, eggs, and fresh vegetables. Paper goods such as toilet paper and paper towels will also be included.
In addition, JFS will utilize the infrastructure of its older adult transportation system, JET Express and create Refugee Rides, a volunteer-based transportation program for refugees served by JVS. The program will provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, school programs, and cultural activities to help refugees access needed services and adjust to life in Kansas City.
The two agencies will jointly recruit and train volunteer drivers for this new transportation program, and JVS social workers will manage the day-to-day operations.
“Most of the Jewish community is descended from refugees,” said Don Goldman, Executive Director and CEO of JFS. “We are so proud that JVS honors that heritage by helping lead the resettlement of thousands of refugees in the Kansas City area.”
“JFS is proud to partner with JVS to help these New Americans at this critical time in our country’s history,” Goldman said. “This program is in direct alignment with our commitment to supporting the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, one person, one family at a time.”
“Our refugee families work so hard to build new lives for themselves in Kansas City,” according to Hilary Cohen Singer, JVS Executive Director. “We are very pleased to partner with JFS to help make this transition easier for those in greatest need.”
The two agencies are recruiting volunteers to prepare and deliver food boxes and drive refugee families to the doctor and other important appointments. To learn more about how you can help, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
JFS and JVS will be reaching out to the community for food donations for this project. To learn what food items are in greatest need go to www.jfskc.org or www.jvskc.org.
“Our Kansas City community has always responded in times of crises,” Goldman said. “We know there will be support to make these important new programs possible for the most vulnerable in our community.”
JVS engages, encourages and empowers people to achieve social, cultural and economic integration. We were established in 1949 to assist Holocaust survivors, refugees and those returning from WWII, enabling them to build better lives in the United States. Today, our programs meet the needs of all who face barriers to employment. Whether it is coaching a client on how to request a disability accommodation from their employer or helping a newly arrived refugee enroll their children in school, JVS works to empower people to address challenges to their self-sufficiency.
About Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City
Jewish Family Services (JFS) supports and strengthens lives throughout Greater Kansas City. We provide essential human services for people facing challenges in everyday life or times of crisis — regardless of faith, age, culture or lifestyle. JFS provides a breadth of related services, with the goal of helping people in difficult times get back on their own feet. Our service areas are: Food, Shelter and Employment; Older Adult Services; Mental Health Services; Family Life Education; and Chaplaincy.