Member Communications 3 min read

Partnering to Build a Healthier Milwaukee – One Shot at a Time

By JCC Milwaukee June 30, 2021

Partnering to Build a Healthier Milwaukee. This guiding phrase has for many years been a component of how the JCC seeks to serve our entire community, and since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we have been grateful to be surrounded by strong partners like the Milwaukee Jewish Federation and the North Shore Health Department who share our commitment to community health. In 2021, once vaccines became available, new and existing partnerships allowed us to provide convenient and equitable access to vaccination for our community at our Whitefish Bay facility.

“The pandemic forced us to learn how to build community Beyond a Building, in the virtual environment, but providing access to the vaccine is a first step on the road to bringing the community back together in our Spaces and Places,” said Mark Shapiro, President & CEO of the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.

Working closely with the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, a new partnership was formed with local Hayat Pharmacy to offer two first-dose Moderna clinics in March for adults 18+ in vaccination groups designated by the State of Wisconsin. One of the people to walk in the door was 78-year-old community member Sally Hill. The Glendale resident has multiple sclerosis and has had part of one lung removed. “You really should do everything possible to prevent the expansion of this pandemic,” said Hill. “You have to, if you care about people and your family and everybody.”

In May, once vaccination was opened up to 12-15 year olds, the professional and teen leaders of BBYO joined us in welcoming a new partner, Summit Clinical Laboratories, to host a Pfizer vaccine clinic. During this clinic, the Barry & Elena Himelhoch family brought 3 generations of their family to the JCC to be vaccinated together in a true show of l’dor vador, from generation to generation.
All told, the JCC and Milwaukee Jewish Federation vaccinated just under 1,000 total people this spring. And, of course, none of this would have been possible without the support of the over 100 medical and non-medical volunteers who stepped up to make the clinics run as smoothly as possible. These vaccination clinics were also uniquely JCC events that included Jewish blessings appropriate for vaccination, video screens sharing many of the wonderful Tapestry programs that took place Beyond a Building in the previous year, and a large wooden heart displaying post-it notes of gratitude from clinic attendees to our courageous community healthcare providers.

“The JCC volunteers and vaccination staff did brilliantly. Everyone was kind and helpful… I was really impressed, and I thought you should have someone tell you, ‘Thank You!’,” said Katie Roszak Meltzer in an email to organizers. “Thank you, too, for the nice prayers on the hand out. I didn’t realize I was nervous and worried until they handed me the flyer and I read, ‘Find your center.’ Too true.”

Read more Stories from the JCC 2020-21 Annual Report