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San Antonio Area FoundationAs everyone in San Antonio grieves the loss of their normal lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jewish Family Service of San Antonio is offering support, counseling, food, education and more to the community. The San Antonio Area Foundation is partnering with JFS in these efforts by awarding a $25,000 emergency fund grant.

The grant will be used to help the vulnerable populations who need mental health and social services, said Talli Goldman-Dolge, CEO of JFS.

“Now, more than ever, people are experiencing anxiety, grief, and panic over the loss of our normal routines,” she said. “We have seen an increase in mental health and social services needs since the pandemic started. The grant from the San Antonio Area Foundation will allow us to continue to serve those who struggle to find access to mental health services.”

JFS provides mental health counseling and psychology, as well as social services for the elderly and disabled. The organization recently launched the San Antonio Mobile Mental Wellness Collaborative, a pilot program with five other area nonprofits to bring much-needed mental health services out of the agency offices and into the schools.

“This grant to JFS recognizes how quickly and effectively they have increased their telehealth counseling services to address mental health needs during this crisis,” said Marjie French, CEO of the San Antonio Area Foundation. “Addressing mental health is an urgent and ongoing need in our community, and JFS is providing critical services for vulnerable populations in our community.”

In mid-March, JFS adjusted all of its services to protect clients and staff from potential infection.

  • photo of teletherapy

    Celina, a JFS clinician, meets with clients during the pandemic through teletherapy.

    The social services department has seen an increase in seniors who need assistance with groceries, cleaning supplies and bills because they are stuck at home. Licensed social workers are being creative to stay in contact with clients who are in assist facilities, such as writing letters and staying in contact with family members.

  • Counseling and psychiatry sessions moved to telehealth, using HIPAA-compliant tools to offer video or audio sessions.
  • The San Antonio Mobile Mental Wellness Collaborative adapted to offer mental health support and education to the South San ISD community through telehealth. In the future, the adapted program will allow the collaborative to function during the summer and other extended school breaks.

JFS also created new services to help non-JFS clients during these times.

  • screen shot of a zoom webinar

    Talli Dolge, JFS CEO, presents the webinar “Anxiety in the Face of a Pandemic.”

    Dolge is educating groups, including the Spurs organization and the Rochester, NY community, on “Anxiety in the Face of a Pandemic.” She discusses anxiety and how to harness it to your advantage.

  • JFS launched an advice column called Ask A Therapist, where people can submit mental health questions related to COVID-19.

According to a Mental Health America* study, Texas ranks the worst in the nation for providing access to mental health services. This includes access to insurance, access to treatment, quality and cost of insurance, access to special education, and workforce availability. That’s why nonprofit organizations, such as JFS, are a necessary part of the community. JFS serves anyone, regardless of age, race, faith, sexual orientation or economic status.

For more information about the mental health and social services that JFS provides, please visit www.jfs-sa.org. If you or someone you know is in need of mental health services, please email referrals@jfs-sa.org. And if you need social services, please call our hotline at (210) 302-6934.

About Jewish Family Service of San Antonio

Since 1973, Jewish Family Service of San Antonio strives to enhance the quality of life of individuals and families of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds in San Antonio and the surrounding area, through social, psychological, health and educational programs guided by the Jewish values of “repairing the world” and “taking responsibility for each other.”

About the San Antonio Area Foundation

The San Antonio Area Foundation has served as the sole, designated community foundation for the San Antonio area for over half a century, growing to become one of the top 20 foundations in the nation based on asset size. The Area Foundation helps donors achieve their charitable goals, managing more than 500 charitable funds valued at over one billion in assets. Coordinating efforts with numerous area nonprofits, the Area Foundation serves as a collaborative leader, connecting donors to address key community issues and investing in our future. Since 1964, over $500 million in scholarships and grants have been awarded to enhance the quality of life in our region. Learn more about our community foundation at saafdn.org.