- Ukraine Response
- JFCS News
For 19 weeks, we all have followed the news of the war in Ukraine. Throughout this time of great pain, our community has come together by contributing humanitarian aid, advocating for refugees, and volunteering time, talent, and resources.
Thank you for being part of this vital effort! Read on for updates on how JFCS is helping.
Longtime JFCS Volunteer Helps to Welcome Ukrainian Refugees to Our Community
When Marina Kantorova matches a JFCS volunteer with a Ukrainian refugee, she helps ensure they have the warm welcome and essential assistance that made all the difference when her own family arrived from Ukraine more than 25 years ago.
Over the past several months, Marina, an experienced social worker and longtime JFCS volunteer, has volunteered her time, Russian language skills, and talents to interview prospective volunteers, match volunteers with needs, coordinate with JFCS’ case managers to arrange volunteer translators and drivers, and maintain volunteer records.
“Marina’s knowledge and experience, plus her warmth and kindness, have been instrumental as we expanded our volunteer program to aid Ukrainian refugees,” says Irina Klay, Director of Community Outreach. “Caring volunteers provide translation services, drive individuals and families to appointments, offer legal aid, provide one-to-one conversational English practice, and much more, thanks in no small part to Marina.”
Commitment to Service Rooted in Personal Experience
A San Francisco resident, Marina was introduced to JFCS after arriving in San Francisco from the former Soviet Union in the mid-1990s. She understands how difficult it is to move to a new country, especially without knowing the language.
“JFCS welcomed me and even gave me my first job. What JFCS did for me and my family will stay with me forever,” Marina says. “Now, I am helping to welcome others. The transition is much more difficult for the refugees coming from war.”
In this painful time, Marina is heartened by the response from interested volunteers. She understands from her own experience that the more help that is available—from both professionals and volunteers—the easier it will be for refugees to find their way.
“It’s up to all of us, together, to help these families feel at home. Providing a bag of groceries or driving someone to an appointment makes a real difference,” says Marina.
JFCS’ Local Ukraine Relief Efforts
Locally, we have helped dozens of families with housing, food, health care, and legal services, in collaboration with partners, including Congregation Beth Sholom and several Jewish Community Centers, as well as with the help of dedicated volunteers, like Marina.
As always, JFCS stands ready to welcome more individuals and families, ensuring no one struggles alone. We are reaching out to those who have signed up to volunteer or offer aid as opportunities arise. Thank you for your generosity and involvement!
How to Give Help
- Volunteer Drivers. Volunteers are needed to drive local refugees to appointments. The greatest need is in San Francisco and on the Peninsula. To get involved, please complete this form on our website.
- Legal Aid Volunteers. Attorneys, law students, and legal assistants—your help is needed! Please contact [email protected] for information and to sign up.
- Housing. For those who may have housing for refugees, please contact Irina Klay at [email protected].
- Donations. Give to the JFCS Emergency Fund for Ukrainian Relief.
How to Get Help
- Resources. Find valuable information and contacts on our Ukraine Response Resources page.
- JFCS Legal Services Consultations. JFCS assists with refugee aid and reunification for those with family members overseas. Please complete the Legal Consultation Request form to schedule a consultation.
- JFCS Mental Health Support. JFCS is a resource for mental health support for all ages. Please call 415‑449‑1212.
We are thankful for your compassion and continued involvement. Together, we ensure greatly needed resources are available in this painful time.
JFCS stands ready to welcome more individuals and families—as our community has for decades—and to ensure no one struggles alone.