By Lee Chottiner
Jeff Jamner, creative consultant for the arts and ideas at the Jewish Community Center, now also serves as a dispatcher.
Jamner heads up the JCC’s Our Community Cares COVID response team (OC3). He dispatches designated volunteers – he calls them “helpers” – to assist people who have contracted COVID, or are obliged to quarantine, and need nonmedical assistance.
Jamner said OC3 is a response to the high COVID infection rates here, and the threat posed by new variants of the disease. Through the program, people can make sure they have extra help when they need it, while others can volunteer to help.
“It’s a way to just kind of create a mini-network for yourself ahead of time,” Jamner said.
People can register for OC3 online, naming three people who have agreed to serve as helpers should the need arise.
Jamner notifies helpers only when the person they have agreed to help notifies him.
“I also notify the clergy if they give me their contact info and want to be included in prayers for healing,” he said.
The center operates like 911, but only for nonmedical issues like making grocery runs, picking up prescriptions or just calling to check in. The helpers commit up to four weeks.
Not everyone, needs helpers, Jamner said; many people already have networks of people to fall back on.
Still, a segment of Louisville feels isolated and could use help.
For example, Jamner recently learned of a couple that just moved to Louisville with no friends other than those in their retirement community, so he volunteered to be one of their helpers.
There are no privacy issues involved, attorneys have advised Jamner, since those signing up for the program are choosing to share their private information with people they designate. Otherwise, all information is kept confidential.
Sara Klein Wagner, president and CEO of the Jewish Community of Louisville, said OC3 is intended to make sure everyone has a support system and stays connected.
“The pandemic has reminded us all just how important our relationships are,” Wagner said. “I encourage community members to reach out and be part of OC3, we are stronger together.”
Jamner said the program is set to last through April, but it could be extended if necessary.
“It’s going to take a while for those infection numbers to come down,” Jamner said. “There’s going to be precautions for a long time. This is just a way for people to get ahead of the curve.”
Want to join?
To sign up for OC3, or volunteer to help others, click here.