Patricia came to Jewish Family Services for food, but she left with a new family.
On a day in November 2021, the JFS Brookside food pantry was bustling. Volunteers and staff stocked the shelves and assisted clients with their appointments.
When Patricia arrived, she quietly told JFS staff this would be her last time coming to the pantry for her 92-year-old mother, Evelina.
Tomorrow, there would be a memorial “homegoing celebration” for Evelina to honor her life. The strong, proud family matriarch who worked most of her life as a seamstress at a bag factory had passed away. “She was tired,” Patricia said. “She told me she was ready to go home.”
Patricia was left with a house full of memories of her mother. The 75-year old daughter had given up her home in Florida two years ago to come live with her mother and care for her during the last two years of her life. Patricia treasured every moment they had together.
On that day, Patricia told the KesherKC team she needed food from the pantry to help feed the family members who had come in town for the memorial. The JFS staff and volunteers thoughtfully offered their condolences to Patricia and sprang into action. They helped gather food, fresh flowers and baked treats. But more importantly, they gave Patricia an invitation to return to the pantry for help when she needed it.
In 2021, JFS provided 3,475 individuals like Evelina and Patricia with food from the pantry. We also helped Evelina with repairs to her home through our Help@Home program for older adults trying to remain in their homes. Your donations to JFS made it all possible.
“They were so patient,” Patricia said of the JFS team. “They understood more than I did what I was going through. I could have just brought them home with me—they were just so kind. I really felt like they were family.”
With your support, every day JFS connects older adults like Evelina and Patricia to resources and support to help them live independently. More than just providing food and services, JFS programs offer a holistic approach where every person is treated with respect and dignity. Every person is treated like they are part of the JFS family, regardless of faith, age, culture or lifestyle.
JFS staff reassured Patricia this didn’t have to be her last visit. A KesherKC Pantry Navigator helped Patricia enroll in the program, giving her access to many other resources to help the older adult stretch her limited income. She would always be welcome; she was part of the JFS family.
“I honestly didn’t expect anything,” Patricia said. “Being in a place of not having enough but making just a few dollars too much to qualify for help is really hard. If you’ve ever been in that spot sometime in your life, you get it.”
JFS is different than other agencies, Patricia said.
“A lot of places don’t make you feel welcome,” she said. “You get the feeling that they don’t want to be there, and so you don’t feel like you want to be there either.”
“They know me, they care about me,” Patricia said of the JFS staff. “The camaraderie and fellowship is really wonderful because I don’t have a lot of friends here. I feel like they are my family.”
YOU are an important part of the JFS family. YOU make it possible for JFS to assist people in our community like Patricia and Evelina.
Will you donate to JFS today so we can continue to be that extended caring family for our neighbors in need? People like Patricia appreciate your generosity more than you may know.
“I really appreciate someone caring about me,” Patricia said. “We all got to be able to help each other in this world.”