Jewish Family Service Providing Financial Assistance for Families During COVID-19

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“My husband always says that we are the city’s best kept secret,” says Roselle M. Ungar, Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans’ executive director.

Founded in 1948, JFS is a social service agency serving people of all faiths — in fact, 75 percent of its clients are not Jewish. JFS serves Greater New Orleans individuals and families regardless of race, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation.

The organization offers various programs and services including: providing individual and group counseling, educating young people about depression and suicide prevention, promoting independence for the elderly, providing case management and assisting in adoptions. Its services are available on a sliding-scale fee scale based on household income.

When COVID-19 hit, JFS was prepared to help.

“We didn’t think twice about it,” says Ungar. “It’s what we do.We didn’t shut down after Katrina. We were front and center with our relief efforts. I couldn’t imagine not doing something to help our community during this pandemic. No matter how small, we all can do something to help.”

In the past few months, the agency’s Passover food program, counseling, case management and Lifeline has helped more than 900 people.

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Roselle M. Ungar

“We’ve also been blessed because we haven’t had to furlough any staff,” Ungar says. “So we can keep moving to help our clients.”

Additionally, in partnership with the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana, Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans is offering the Jewish Community COVID-19 Emergency Financial Assistance Program. Applicants may be eligible for up to $2,500 of assistance.

“It’s short-term stability bridge grants, which are available for Jewish individuals and families in the Greater New Orleans area, who require life sustaining funds and who have exhausted all other means to meet their basic needs,” says Ungar. “We hope this program brings both material aid and emotional relief to those impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.”

To help the entire community, JFS recently received a generous $15,000 challenge matching gift to launch its COVID-19 Tzedakah Relief Fund. (Tzedakah is a Hebrew word that connotes giving charitable contributions.) Thanks to an anonymous donor, all gifts to the fund are matched dollar for dollar with the goal of raising $30,000. The funds will enable the agency to provide material and emotional support to members of the Greater New Orleans community with mental health and socioeconomic vulnerabilities.

“So many times mental health falls through the cracks,” Ungar says. “It is critically important to us to see that that doesn’t happen. After Katrina, community members were immediately concerned with removing moldy drywall, but weeks later the need for therapy became apparent as PTSD began affecting so many people. We were there then and we will be there again for those who need help.”

JFS knows this is a difficult time for not only our community, but the world, and it’s ready to offer support and refuge. Learn about all JFS is doing to keep our community supported and connected on its COVID-19 Resource Page.


JFS Mission

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans is a social service agency dedicated to preserving, strengthening and enhancing the well-being and self-sufficiency of individuals and families at every stage of life.

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans is a constituent agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and a community impact partner of United Way of Southeast Louisiana.


Address: 3300 W. Esplanade Ave, Suite 603, Metairie, LA 70002

Phone: (504) 831-8475

Counseling Center: Call to make an appointment (504) 831-8475


How Businesses Can Help:

Partner with JFS to provide counseling for your company’s employees. Call Ungar for more information.


How People Can Help:

Double the local impact by giving to JFS’s Tzedakah Fund. Click here to give.




Categories: Labors of Love