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OMAHA, NE — The Jewish Federation of Omaha is pleased to announce it was recently awarded a grant of $23,000.00 from United Way of the Midlands to fund a variety of programmatic initiatives through agencies on the Jewish Federation of Omaha campus, Jewish Senior Outreach and Jewish Family Service. The generosity of United Way donors will greatly impact the members of the Jewish community of Omaha.

The demographics directly impacted by this grant are youth, seniors and those most vulnerable or in need of direct assistance. United Way’s investments in the Jewish Federation of Omaha include the following: $8,000 for Jewish Social Services’ geriatric counseling, $15,000 for mental health care and counseling through Jewish Family Service.

Jewish Family Service received funding for mental health care and counseling services. This funding provides counseling services to individuals (they need not be Jewish clients) who require a Sliding Fee rate, either because they do not have insurance or income qualify.

Jewish Family Service accommodated 165 clients who attended 1551 therapy sessions, from July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016. Members of the Omaha community received help when access to comparable services were unavailable elsewhere. When Jewish Family Service has the resources available to provide these services, they are fulfilling one of the most important tenants of the Jewish faith: Tikkun Olam, to help repair the world.

For Jewish Senior Outreach, the goal has been, and remains, varied programming for the frail elderly to keep them healthy and a vital part of the Jewish community.

Consider this: Elvin is an 82 year old gentleman- never married, with no family or close local contacts.  He has lived on his own for his entire adult life, struggling with anxiety and mood disorders.  In 1994 he suffered an eye injury that left him blinded in one eye in addition to already limited vision in the other. Elvin has received community support services from Jewish Senior Outreach (JSO) as needed over the years. Recently, he was experiencing uncontrolled anxiety and OCD regarding his living situation.  He had an infestation of bedbugs and conditions in his apartment had reached the point where he would not allow anyone to enter and he was afraid of contaminating others if he went out.  He was so fearful of being evicted that he had not alerted his landlord or anyone else of the problem for months and the situation had become overwhelming and dangerous.  He finally contacted  JSO and divulged he was without food or his medications.  He allowed the JSO social worker to bring him Kosher  meals and to contact his psychiatrist for help. Elvin was admitted to an inpatient psychiatric stay after experiencing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, Major depression, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  He was unable to remove any personal belongings from his apartment and JSO assisted in purchasing new clothing and needed personal items.  He has since moved into the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home as a long term resident where he receives appropriate care.  Because Elvin trusted Jewish Senior Outreach and his social worker…he is now safe and living in a healthy environment.  United Way support makes it possible for Elvin and many like him to receive case management attention from JSO—an agency they know and trust.

Alan Potash, CEO of the Jewish Federation Omaha expressed his gratitude to United Way of the Midlands saying this, “Jewish Senior Outreach and Jewish Family Service strive, each and every day, to provide the highest level of service to improve the quality of lives of every individual in our community. We are thankful to United Way for their generous support of our programs and we thank all who contribute to the United Way of the Midlands.”

United Way of the Midlands helps the most vulnerable in our community, and works on human service solutions that will benefit our metro area for generations to come. We connect people and organizations with a secure way to donate their financial support and their time, and connect them to a strong network of health and human service programs that help our neighbors build a better life for themselves.  Thanks to all who come together at United Way’s table, we are COMMUNITY STRONG.

The Jewish Federation of Omaha works each day to fulfill its mission to build and sustain a strong and vibrant Omaha Jewish community and to support Jews in Israel and around the world. We strive to achieve our goals through the basic core values of Judaism: collective responsibility, community, education, health and well-being, integrity, leadership and stewardship.