JFS Picks Up Several JCC Services

Effective Jan. 1, Jewish Family Service (JFS) will take over some key JCC services — SOVA Kosher Food Pantry, Israel Levin Senior Adult Center, and Westside JCC’s Social Day Care Center for seniors and people with disabilities. At the annual JCCGLA meeting, Jewish Federation President John Fishel told The Journal that his outreach organization wants to preserve the continuity of these JCC programs.

"We’ve been discussion since summer with the Centers about these programs," JFS Executive Director Paul Castro told The Journal. Castro’s agency has spent the last few months exploring operational, budgetary, funding and other issues pertaining to the programs. "Fortunately we’ve gotten those issues to a level where we feel comfortable taking them over," Castro said.

He added that SOVA’s staff will be maintained for now, with a Federation allocation of $125,000 slated for the first six months "with understanding that it would be annualized" pending a business plan that JFS will provide in the spring. In assuming the Venice-based Israel Levin Center, JFS will keep the current staff.

The most fiscally stable of the three programs will be Social Day Care. JFS has secured a Department of Aging grant through the city of Los Angeles that amounts to $185,000 per year over four years. The annual $185,000 grant does not include Federation allocations earmarked for this program. For the time being, the program will remain at Westside JCC. However JFS is currently looking for an alternative site to prepare in case Westside closes by July.

"We’re looking forward to bringing them into the JFS family and we believe these programs will be a good fit for the services we provide," Castro said of Israel Levin Center and Social Day Care. "While the food bank is new to us, many of our clients have experience with SOVA."

In addition to JFS pitching in to relieve JCCGLA, Federation agencies Jewish Free Loan and Jewish Vocational Service will assist recently laid-off Federation employees with interest free loans and job-hunting assistance, respectively.