- JFCS in the Media
- JFCS News
Anita Friedman thought she’d seen it all: wildfires, earthquakes, 9/11 and the brutal 2008 economic recession.
But the longtime executive director of the S.F.-based Jewish Family and Children’s Services had not seen it all—not until the onset of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, which she calls “the deepest and most profound crisis we’ve had to deal with in the last generation. This combines both a health crisis with a mental-health crisis with an economic crisis, and it affects everyone.”
Having served the local Jewish community for more than four decades, Friedman is used to responding to disasters.
In normal times, JFCS annually helps tens of thousands of homebound frail elderly, special-needs kids, at-risk teens, hungry families, Holocaust survivors and others.
With the pandemic, JFCS is facing the added burdens of social distancing, forced telecommuting and aiding an already vulnerable population under an even greater threat of falling deathly ill.
“We’re in the first-responder category,” she said of her staff, which she defined as 1,000 strong, including administrators, social workers and health-care professionals (full-, part-time and independent contractors), plus an additional 2,000 or so volunteers. “We’re working with a huge amount of people who need help under different circumstances. I think it’s going to get worse here before it gets better.”