Michael Klahr Jewish Family Services
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Michael Klahr Jewish Family Services (KJFS) continues to proudly serve the Jewish Community and to reach out to those in need throughout Southern Maine. Our programs are designed to meet compelling, immediate needs in ways that demonstrate the commitment to gemilut chasadim (acts of loving kindness) in the service of tikkun olam (repairing the world).
Much of the success of our Michael Klahr Jewish Family Services program is based in our capacity to engage the community in ongoing needs assessments that help us ensure our work is as impactful as possible. Through the pandemic, significant increases in federal funding and generous individual donations began changing food pantries across the nation in positive ways. Suddenly, shelves were full, and families could get significant amounts of food (enough for a whole month) with just one stop at a larger food program.
Given the size of our pantry, we realized this critical need was being better filled by partner agencies such as Wayside Food Programs and started working to support their efforts. We then pressed our pantry into service filling a unique unmet need: non-food essentials.
Our Essentials pantry provides items from toilet paper to Tylenol, toothpaste to laundry detergent, for families who have had difficulty accessing these items due to cost (which is increasing all the time with inflation) and sourcing challenges. Additionally, diaper need has continued to grow, impacting more and more families each year.
Since January of 2020, we’ve distributed over 1.5 million diapers throughout Southern Maine! 1 in 3 families struggle with affording diapers, and the average family falls short by 11 diapers each week. Keeping babies in soiled diapers for too long can cause infections and illness and can lead to missed work for the parents, and often missed income, pushing them further into poverty.
We couldn’t be prouder to now partner with a network of 14 other pantries and programs – from the Opportunity Alliance to the Congolese Community of Maine –to make sure diapers are distributed throughout our region to anyone who needs them. We are also delighted to partner with the Maine Medical Center clinics on addressing diaper need. During pediatric clinic visits, parents are asked if the family has an adequate supply of diapers. If they answer no, they are given a small supply and then a direct referral is made to our office for continued care.
To make an appointment or for further questions, please email Michael Klahr Jewish Family Services Director, Rebecca Dunham at firstname.lastname@example.org