Help on its way #3

March 27, 2020 by Elana Bowman
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The Community Health Initiative has been set up by Kehillat Kadimah in Sydney to support Sydney’s Jewish community during Covid -19.

Rabbi Dovy Rappoport

The aim of the initiative is for young adult volunteers in the community to buddy up with an older or vulnerable person, or to provide support as a ‘companion’, or to help with anything needed (such as shopping or helping with any other thing as needed) as a ‘helper’. 

Rabbi Dovy Rapaport of Kehillat Kadimah told J-Wire: “We have two ways we can respond in a crisis, one to be selfish, fight and worry only about oneself. Another is to think about how can you help others. When G-d throws us a challenge we have a choice of how to respond. This is a small step in trying to focus the community on helping others. 

Specifically, I believe it is an opportunity for the younger generations to show gratitude for our elders who have done so much to create the world we live in, by helping out in these moments.” 

Marissa Wilk added: “I am part of a group of young women who regularly learn with Rabbi Dovy. Last Monday, instead of a shiur Rabbi Dovy proceeded to explain the idea of pairing young adults up with at-risk people in order to make them feel connected to the community, less lonely, and provide an outlet for them to have errands done for them so that they can stay safe in isolation. They would chat via the phone on a regular basis and try to help with any of their needs. He then asked for feedback and I proceeded to ask some questions and suggested to create a form for people to fill in to make it easier to gather information.”

The initiative snowballed with Rabbi Dovy and I working together to fine-tune the process and add new features as this virus spreads in the community.”

Marissa added: “He is the community point of contact, meaning that as he is in an authoritative position in the community, people tend to frequently message him with questions or things they need help with. 

Marissa Wilks

He also knows many families in the community and is in a great position to be able to brainstorm other at-risk people that we should contact. I am responsible for monitoring the forms/administrative activities, managing the ‘buddying’ system and coordinating the helpers to complete errands.” told J-Wire.

We have one form where someone can do 3 things:

1. Volunteer

. To be a ‘companion’ and ‘buddied’ with an at-risk person to be in regular communication with them

. To be a ‘helper’ and help with (contactless) errands throughout the community

2. Submit an at-risk person:

. They will be ‘buddied’ with our ‘companions’ 

3. Ask for an errand to be performed

. These tasks will be sent to our ‘helpers’

. Once we find someone to help with the errand, we will send them their number to be in touch to get more information

 When people complete the form,

there is an invite link to join the relevant WhatsApp group to receive updates.

“So far we have had 200+ responses on the form, 102 people in the ‘helpers’ group, 78 in the ‘companions’ group, and have 38 successful ‘buddies’. 

We’d love to encourage any readers to share this initiative with anyone who could find it useful – parents with 3 kids at home while working, someone who is immunocompromised, the elderly, anyone without family/friends to help while self-isolating or even just someone without access to a car. We want to help keep the community safe. 

We are very grateful to those who have joined and the entire team helping with this initiative. 

“On behalf of Kehillat Kadimah we have discovered that there are people in are need of help however they either aren’t aware of our initiative, feel reluctant to use it, haven’t yet realised the importance of self-isolation, or they haven’t accepted that they are at risk. 

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