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Update (March 26, 4:30 p.m.): Forsyth County's local synagogue announced Tuesday that it has added six new services to its community service program to help anyone who needs it during the health crisis.
CBI-LOVE was started by Congregation Beth Israel and Rabbi Levi Mentz as a way to pair sick or older community members with healthy volunteers who could easily pick up food, groceries or medicine for them.
With the help of Dawna Drury, owner of A New Dawn Counseling, and Stephanie Robins, owner of Alpharetta Family Therapy, CBI-LOVE has started offering free mental health consultations along with community wellness check-ins held via Zoom. The first community session was held on Thursday afternoon, and they plan to hold others soon.
CBI-LOVE is also offering financial help through the support of the Hebrew Free Loan Society. For the time being, they are offering interest-free loans to individuals for the purchase of essential goods such as food and medicine. Captrust Vice President Evan Melcher is also offering free financial consultations through the program.
Other CBI members are stepping up to offer their own skills to help out community members. For example, member Raviv Genosar is making emergency repairs for those in need, and member Noah Caplan is providing technical support to older community members who may need it.
To sign up or volunteer for any services offered, Mentz said that community members just need to simply email the office at email@example.com.
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Leaders at Forsyth County’s local synagogue launched a new program Tuesday to help mobilize volunteers and transport food and medicine to those who are 60 and older.
Rabbi Levi Mentz of Congregation Beth Israel said that the new program, called CBI-LOVE, is simple: those 60 and older who are most at risk when exposed to the novel coronavirus can sign up for the program after which they will be paired with a healthy volunteer from the community. It gives them a direct line of contact to a healthy person they can trust to pick up groceries and medicine for them while they are stuck at home.
After reaching out to the CBI office, Mentz said that people in need will be connected with a volunteer within just 24 hours, providing almost immediate need for community members.
Mentz said that his office came up with the idea for the program after reaching out to people in the community to find ways to help. Mentz and other leaders found that older people in the community have been impacted most heavily during the health crisis. Many over 60 have been told to stay home and avoid face-to-face contact, but without healthy family members and friends nearby to help, people have no other way to get the food and medicine that they need. CBI-LOVE aims to eliminate the problem, making sure the 60-and-over crowd has what they need to get through these tough times.
“The moment that we heard how widespread this is and how the need is so big, we realized right away that this county has a huge heart and we just needed to mobilize people together,” Mentz said.
The program was created with advice from local medical experts Drs. Scott Cooper and Joel Hoffman and is being led by CBI member Liza Klahr. Though the program just launched, Mentz said that they have already received an overwhelming response with emails from both community members in need and people looking to volunteer.
Anyone who is 60 or older or who is sick and needs help to get food or other supplies can sign up for the program by simply reaching out to CBI’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Healthy individuals under the age of 60 who would like to volunteer can also reach out to CBI through the same email.
“Now is the time for action,” Mentz said. “Now is the time that people need help. And as a community, this is where we stand shoulder-to-shoulder and we help each other."