For nearly 60 years, members of the Hebrew Congregation of Chautauqua have spent their summers gathered on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution celebrating their faith and enjoying the company of their neighbors, both on and off the grounds.
In 2017, the Congregation began sponsoring an annual field trip for Chautauqua Lake Central School students and teachers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
According to Leigh-Anne Hendricks, CLCS program coordinator and social studies teacher, teaching an elective Holocaust studies course is one of the most important things she does as an educator.
“It has had a great impact on the students in how they see their world, how they think of human nature and how they want to respond in the face of intolerance,” Hendricks told The Chautauquan Daily in 2017.
And while COVID-19 derailed many plans, including CLCS’ trip to Washington and the Congregation’s in-person season at Chautauqua, members still wanted to make a difference in the community that has become their second home.
Recognizing that the pandemic has put additional stress on many community members who have lost income, the Congregation decided to make a donation to The Johnson/BPU Good Neighbor Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.
“It was important for us to do something to help our summer-time neighbors in need,” said Dr. Larry Cohen, Hebrew Congregation of Chautauqua board president. “We are very pleased to be able to help.”
Since 2003, the Johnson/BPU Good Neighbor Fund has assisted BPU customers experiencing financial hardships with a one-time payment on their utility bills. Examples of financial hardships may include sudden unemployment; illness; or unforeseen home repairs.
The Salvation Army of Jamestown works with the customers to verify the hardship and notifies the BPU to process payment from the Good Neighbor Fund.
“We want people throughout the Chautauqua region to know we are supportive of their community,” said Cohen.
To learn more about the Johnson/BPU Good Neighbor Fund, visit jamestownbpu.com. To get assistance paying for utilities, contact the Salvation Army at 664-4108 to make an appointment.