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Senator Garcia, District 37 — Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 8, 2022

CONTACT: OLIVIA OSRIN, 3054426841


State Senator Ileana Garcia to Present $550,000 in State Funds for the Jewish Community Services of South Florida Nutritional Equity for Seniors Keeping Kosher & Miami-Dade/ Monroe Crisis Helpline

Miami, FL —

 On Thursday, September 8th, 2022 State Senator Ileana Garcia will be presenting a total of $550,000 in state funds she worked to secure this past legislative session for two essential local initiatives: Jewish Community Services of South Florida Nutritional Equity for Seniors Keeping Kosher & Miami-Dade/ Monroe Crisis Helpline.

According to the American Community Survey, the number of elders (65+) living below the poverty line has risen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seniors with religious dietary restrictions (especially those that are homebound and/or medically frail) have been at a severe impact of being denied the nutritional support they need in order to maintain their overall health and quality of life particularly since kosher food is more expensive to produce whilst being at a socioeconomic disadvantage.

As the only kosher food provider in Miami-Dade, Jewish Community Services of South Florida Nutritional Equity for Seniors Keeping Kosher intends on enhancing their kosher menu (including meals, produce boxes, and snacks) with both quality and variety similar to those of a non-kosher menu so that seniors can enjoy great assortments without resorting to institutional care or other costly options. These items with then either be delivered directly to the home or meal site of more than 1200 elders per year offering an irreplaceable facet of nourishment and care. These Senior Meal programs already have the seal of approval from various notable South Florida institutions such as the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, City of Miami Beach, Alliance for Aging, and Peacock Foundation.

JCS also offers the only free suicide prevention helpline known as 211 Miami which critically provides 24/7 support to individuals and families experiencing times of emotional distress and crisis pertaining to suicide and/or mental health. Suicide is among the top causes of death within the United States, but one that can potentially be prevented only with the proper treatment and professional guidance. 50,000 calls are received annually and expected to increase.

The staff is as diverse as the city itself, providing a variety of English, Spanish, and Creole speaking counselors qualified in assisting during the most trying of moments. These operators are vital to the competency and success of the Miami-Dade/Monroe Crisis Helpline Equity as they connect our community’s most vulnerable members to crisis intervention, referral, and information services. Salaries for members are expected to increase by a minimum of $3 per hour in order to retain the sensitive, committed, and trained professionals required for such a competitive position. This crisis counseling service and referrals are provided to all regardless of gender, race, religion, or ability to pay.

“Both of these programs serve a great need for our most vulnerable. Our elderly are most impacted by the growing cost of living. These state funds will help members of our elderly Jewish community with their nutritional needs. The pandemic magnified the importance of the Crisis Hotline. They are on the frontline in taking-on suicide prevention and addressing mental health. I was honored to work on securing state funds that address two very important challenges for our community,” stated Senator Garcia.

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PRESS AVAILABILITY

Date: Thursday, September 8th, 2022

Time: 12:00 PM

Where: 12000 Biscayne Blvd. Suite 303, Miami, FL 33181

For more information, contact Olivia Osrin at (305) 442. 6841 or through email at osrin.olivia@flsenate.gov