JEN helps members of the Howard County Jewish community help one another in times of financial crisis.
On any given day, members of our Howard County Jewish community face financial crises. Some are elderly individuals and couples living on very low fixed incomes who have unforeseen medical expenses. Others are parents with young children who have suffered employment setbacks and cannot afford to buy food, pay rent, and meet other costs of living. Often, those in need can’t afford their bills and don’t know where to turn for help. If you are in need of assistance, please call the JEN phone line at 410-831-8617.
How JEN Works
Requests for assistance are submitted to the JEN Committee by the Federation's Support Services Manager and members of the Howard County Board of Jewish Clergy. These requests are vetted by the JEN Committee and then distributed to the JEN donor network via email.
Upon receiving a request, donor network members decide whether they would like to make a tax-deductible donation and the amount to be contributed to given emergency. There is no obligation for any member of the network to contribute at any time. Giving and receiving take place anonymously; names of recipients and donors are confidential.
Donations are used to make direct payments to third-party vendors, such as businesses providing goods and services to recipients, rather than payment to the recipients themselves.
How You Can Help
Join the JEN donor network list by sending an email to:
As a member of the network, you will receive an email, averaging one per month, describing the nature of an emergency need in our community. You may then choose whether or not to respond.
Make a general tax-deductible donation to JEN by sending a check to:
Jewish Emergency Network
c/o Jewish Federation of Howard County
10630 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 400
Columbia, MD 21044
How did JEN come about?JEN was founded in February 2008 by the Jewish Federation of Howard County (JFHC), which supports the program through its Jewish Community Social Worker, who vets all requests for assistance. JEN is the only entity in Howard County that specifically helps members of the Jewish community who are facing financial crisis through payments on their behalf.
Howard County is one of the most affluent counties in the nation. Are there really members of our community in need? If so, what kinds of needs are we talking about?"According to the 2019 Howard County Jewish Community Study, almost 10% of our local Jewish Community is "just getting along" or "nearly poor" while almost 20% of our population do not have enough funds to cover three months of expenses if they were to face an unexpected loss of income. JEN assistance is most often used to pay overdue rent and avoid eviction, prevent utility cutoffs, pay medical and dental costs, fund needed car repairs, and purchase food.
How does the JEN Committee ensure that funds are used by recipients to meet the emergency needs indicated?JFHC sends payments directly to third-party vendors that provide the goods and services required to meet the emergency needs (e.g., landlords, BGE, pharmacies, insurance carriers, etc.).
Does JFHC provide funding to JEN so that it can do its work?JFHC absorbs the cost of administrative support to JEN and employs the Jewish Community Social Worker who vets all requests for assistance. A group of volunteers comprising the JEN Committee administer the program so that all contributions made to JEN are used to directly meet emergency needs and not used to pay for overhead costs.