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Filling the Gap for Refugees 

Pictured from left to right: Tatyana Abashina from JFS, Davyd Gorbatyi, Illia Horbatyi, Jodi Falk from Rachel’s Table, Yana Gorbata, Evelina Gorbata, Yegor Gorbatyi, and Arina Horbata.

This Spring, Rachel’s Table, a program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts (JFWM), gave a $5,000 donation in food cards to Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts (JFS) to support the organization’s New American Refugee Settlement Program. This is the second such donation to JFS in the past six months for a total of $11,000. The gift cards were purchased from the Healthy Community Emergency Food Fund, which was originally created to meet the immediate needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently expanded to help fill food gaps for local organizations in the Pioneer Valley. This was part of the Healthy Community Emergency Fund initiative begun by the JFWM at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

In June, Jodi Falk, Director of Rachel’s Table, had an opportunity to meet one of the families benefitting from the food cards we donated and was able to learn more about their journey. This family, the Gorbatyi’s, arrived in the U.S. in May after leaving war-torn Ukraine and passing through Moldova and Germany, with four children ages 7 to 1. We can only imagine what it must have taken for this family to escape the war, leaving family behind, and moving together through several countries to finally arrive in the U.S. not speaking our language. We were only happy to have helped fill one of the immediate gaps for this family, and for about a hundred others, who are currently awaiting refugee status and related benefits.   

“Giving food to those in need is at the root of everything that Rachel’s Table does,” said Jodi Falk, director of Rachel’s Table. “These two donations of gift cards from our Emergency Food Fund came at a time when many groups fleeing their countries of origin, such as the Afghanis and Ukrainians, did not yet have refugee status and were not yet getting other services which would provide help for food.” You can continue to meet emergency needs and support daily deliveries by giving to Rachel’s Table. If you are interested in supporting the ongoing work that we do in our community, please visit

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