It began on March 5 when the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Maryland. On March 16, schools closed, as did public spaces. On March 23, all nonessential businesses shut their doors.
The year that followed changed the way we lived our lives, from mask-wearing to virtual socialization. Many struggled, whether suffering from financial difficulties, social isolation or food insecurity.
Yet this past year also was a time when people stepped up to help. The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, thanks to the incredible efforts of its volunteers, donors and professionals, began tackling these challenges, intent on making sure our community stayed strong.
This is the story of the past year.
We Addressed Social Isolation and Mental Health
Baltimoreans of all ages – teens, young and older adults – struggled as social interaction turned virtual. From working remotely to socializing over Zoom to the disruption of life cycle events and milestones, anxiety and other mental health concerns soared.
- Jewish Community Services provided more than 12,300 telehealth therapy sessions.
- CHAI made approximately 4,000 friendly check-in calls to older adults living in its neighborhoods or living in its Weinberg buildings, ensuring they were staying healthy, while providing support and conversation.
- The Myerberg Tech-Knowledge Hub saw a 50% increase in the number of participants over the past year. During this period, the Tech-Knowledge Hub helped older adults navigate the new technology needed to communicate with family and friends… even showed them how to purchase groceries online and make doctor’s appointments.
- The JCC, Pearlstone, Myerberg, the Macks Center for Jewish Education (CJE) and the Jewish Museum of Maryland (JMM) provided thousands of hours of virtual programming that spanned the gamut from fitness to arts and culture to Jewish history.