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Five Towns JCC part of new UJA-New York hub system

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As the rise in Covid-19 cases delivers another blow to the national economy, the UJA-Federation of New York in conjunction with the Marion & Aaron Gural JCC in the Five Towns and the Sid Jacobson JCC in East Hills will bring job training and social services to Long Island as part of a mult-imillion dollar anti-poverty initiative being launched across New York.

“We are grateful to the Marion & Aaron Gural JCC and Sid Jacobson JCC for their partnership in opening the Long Island Hubs and their invaluable work on behalf of the community,” Eric Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York said in a news release. “Our goal is to go beyond helping people meet their basic needs and actually move people from crisis to stability, and we are thankful for all our partners in this effort who are truly the engine behind New York’s sustainable recovery.” 

Encompassing seven service locations, or hubs in Jewish Community Centers across the boroughs, Long Island and Westchester it is anticipated to work as a “seamless network with program and service referrals based on individual client needs, with virtual appointments and training available,” UJA officials said in the release.

“We are extremely honored and grateful to be partnering with UJA in the creation of the Five Towns hub,” Aaron Rosenfeld, CEO of the Gural JCC said in the release. “The hub will allow us to expand and enhance our ability to provide the community with much needed employment services, legal and financial counseling, mental health services and additional food supports, the need for which has grown by over 125 percent in the past six months alone.”

The Five Towns hub, is the Gural JCC’s SHOP (Sustenance Hope Opportunities Place) at 591 Malvin Mall in Maple Plaza in Cedarhurst, which offers employment services, mental health support, nutritional counseling, emergency cash relief, the Rina Shkolnik Kosher Food Pantry and access to legal and financial counseling. It is expected that the JCC will hire three full-time employees. Commonpoint Queens and New York Legal Assistance Group provide additional resources on some services.

“The additional staff will be working out of the SHOP and includes another full-time social worker,” Gural JCC Associate Executive Director Stacey Feldman told the Herald. “The other two positions will enable us to be open longer hours and on Sundays to meet the demand for services. We are grateful to UJA Federation for helping us answer the call from our community members who are in need of food, social work support, mental health counseling and job training opportunities.” 

Gural JCC co-President David Kaye said the organization  is "proud to be expanding their services to the community at this critical time when so many are facing food insecurity and mental challenges, " adding that the  kosher food pantry has seen another increase in the number of people using its services. 

The seven hubs are in Elmhurst, White Plains, Cedarhurst, East Hills, Bensonhurst (two sites) and Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The flagship site is a permanent, newly constructed $10 million facility in Elmhurst operated in conjunction with Commonpoint Queens, with another major new standalone hub site in Brooklyn under construction and scheduled to open next year.

"We wish to thank and acknowledge UJA-Federation for recoginizng our work," said Gural  JCC co-Presiden Yehuda Mor. "This additional funding will enable us to offer a variety of needed supports that will positively impact those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic."