- Stories & Testimonials
- Nutrition Program
- People with Disabilities
By the time Jonah was 30, he’d had more than a dozen surgical procedures to treat Crohn’s disease, a chronic disorder that affects the gastrointestinal tract. The surgeries prevented his debilitating condition from worsening, but they didn’t cure him of it. Because of Crohn’s, he has been unable to have a career. “I was deeply depressed by the way my life was turning out,” he says. “Fortunately, a family friend told me about JFCS’ Disabilities Program. It has been a lifesaver. I’ve not only received emotional support, but also solid, practical guidance and other services that have kept me grounded and prevented me from feeling completely out of control.”
Now 34, Jonah had to quit working several years ago, due to disruptive nature of his condition. “The social worker at JFCS I began seeing regularly has shown a lot of compassion and helped me cope with the shame and anger I’ve felt,” he says. “I’ve been working through a lot of issues, and it has been a godsend to have someone to talk to about what I’m experiencing psychologically and physically. I feel empowered by my counseling sessions—and less alone.”
Jonah also feels less alone, thanks to regular visits from a JFCS friend who is part of the agency’s volunteer outreach to people with disabilities. “Gary is a great guy,” says Jonah, “and for a couple of hours a week, he makes me forget that I have a chronic condition. Sometimes we do nothing more than sit back, shoot the breeze, and have a couple of laughs. It may not seem a lot to some people, but it’s the highlight of my week.”
At Passover, Hanukkah, and Rosh Hashanah, Jonah is cheered by JFCS’ holiday outreach. He loves attending the annual Hanukkah party and Seder, and is appreciative of the bags of traditional foods he receives at those times. “I grew up in a fairly observant home, and these are wonderful reminders of happier times for me. I also feel more connected to my Jewish roots, which are definitely a positive part of my identity.” He also receives twice monthly meal deliveries from Chicken Soupers, a group of volunteers who cook and prepare meals for JFCS clients with disabilities.
Jonah is also grateful for the assistance JFCS has provided in filling out the long, often complicated forms that allow him to receive disability payments and medical reimbursements. “It can be a bear working through government bureaucracy, and I just don’t have the patience to sit down and complete them on my own.”
“I don’t know what I’d do if JFCS weren’t there to shore me up when I’m down and give me the strength to go on,” he continues. “The people there—from my social worker and volunteer, to the financial counselor who has helped me prepare a monthly budget—have definitely become a part of my family.”
Learn more about JFCS’ Disabilities Program > Or, call 415-449-1224.