We have over 1,000 volunteers in over 50 of our communities, each led by a Care Coordinator, offering practical and emotional support to members, every single day. The support that each group offers is based on the needs of their membership and the resources available. They are supported by the US Chesed Department, which also helps those communities that cannot recruit their own teams.

Whether a home or hospital visit, helping with shopping, bereavement befriending, helping a new mum or walking an elderly member to shul, our fantastic volunteers make an enormous difference to the lives of their members.

The Chesed Department provides induction training programmes throughout the year for all community care volunteers. Specialist training is provided for Coordinators, covering topics such as safeguarding, leadership and supervision. US Chesed also provides guidance to volunteers when dealing with complex cases and signposting to a whole range of specialist organisations when required.

Delivering food and fresh meals

US Chesed set up the Food Parcels Project in April 2020. The parcels consist of non-perishable food, fresh food, and cooked meals. Our Care Coordinators and volunteers work closely with staff to ensure that everyone who needs basic food and other household essentials receive them. This service is provided for people with health problems who are not able to get out to do the food shop, people who struggle financially or have been in hospital and require extra help.

We continue to deliver 120–150 food parcels every week to those in serious need, tailored to each family’s individual requirements whenever possible. We also have teams of US Chesed volunteers cooking meals and soups in synagogue kitchens.

If you need this kind of help, please contact your local synagogue or contact our helpline on 020 8343 5696.

Jewish Festivals

US Chesed is particularly conscious of our more vulnerable members over Jewish festivals. We deliver Rosh Hashanah cards and honey cakes to those who may be isolated, unwell, recently bereaved or elderly. Many communities also telephone their older members at this time of year to see how they are, to wish them a Happy New Year and to see if they need any assistance from their local welfare group. Similarly, before Pesach, telephone calls are made and we provide food parcels and/or vouchers to those who are unable to afford the costs of Pesach.

Bereavement Support Services

Sadly, we will all experience a loss or bereavement at some time in our lives. People react in their individual and unique way and may experience many different feelings. When someone close dies, you may feel sadness, anger, fear, guilt, loneliness, or denial. All these feelings are natural reactions, but the intensity may leave you feeling that you are not managing everyday life in the way that you would like.

Many people need support following a bereavement, and often family and/or friends can be of great help. Yet, it may be difficult to talk to those we know well about our emotions. Sometimes it may be helpful to talk to someone who is not emotionally involved but is there to listen and care.

Many of our community care groups offer bereavement befriending services. Some of these volunteers have received specialist training in providing bereavement support. If you would like to find out more about this, please contact US Chesed or your local community.

We also work closely with the Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service (JBCS) – for more information please contact 020 8951 3881 / enquiries@jbcs.org.uk or visit www.jbcs.org.uk.

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