This past February, Jack Belitsky celebrated his 80th birthday surrounded by family and friends. Now Jack's life looks much different—like all of us, social distancing has radically changed how he spends his days. But even at 80, Jack does more than most people half his age as part of his lifelong quest to give back.

Jack has long been a pillar of our community, actively serving on the Jewish Federation’s Board of Trustees, is a vital part of KleinLife’s RSVP program, Past Chair on the Community Advisory Council of the Jewish Federation’s Northeast NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community), volunteer head of the Northeast Jewish Life steering committee, a member of the Advisory Council for Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, on the Public Relations Committee of Philadelphia Protestant Home, and a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Board of Shaare Shamayim.  

Jack normally spends much of his time at KleinLife, a partner of the Jewish Federation, but has not been able to visit since the facility closed early on to protect the safety of its older adult clients. His time there typically included leading current events and book discussions, heading their Advisory Council, and volunteering for their RSVP program for volunteers 55 and older, as well as their weekly food packing and deliveries. Unfortunately these opportunities aren’t safe for him to participate in now since he is part of the high-risk demographic.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jack now relies on initiatives like the Mitzvah Food Program for basic needs so that he can remain safely at home. Jack is keeping in good spirits with a regular routine including morning walks outside and calls from his family and friends. 

The Mitzvah Food Program is a grant recipient of Jewish Federation’s Emergency Response Fund. As of May 1st, more than $1,200,000 has been raised to provide for the most urgent needs in our communities, including individuals who now find themselves experiencing food insecurity or who are  homebound and unable to shop for groceries. 

The Emergency Response Committee has made initial grants totaling more than $665,000. Read more about the grants by clicking here and visit our COVID-19 Resources page for additional information. To make a donation to our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, click here