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Bonnie Patrick grew up on a ranch in the Central Valley where physical activity was a fact of life. So her job as Fitness Manager at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center (OFJCC) in Palo Alto comes naturally to her. After twelve years at the OFJCC, Bonnie still gets tremendous satisfaction from helping people incorporate exercise into their daily routines.

Bonnie was pregnant with her second child when Covid-19 shut down the fitness center and other programs at the OFJCC, resulting in a wave of layoffs that included Bonnie. Her husband Michael was also laid off from his job as a soccer coach and a substitute teacher, and the couple worried about how they would make ends meet. They knew the birth of their baby would bring large medical bills, their car needed major repairs, and their credit card debt was mounting.

When Bonnie heard that Hebrew Free Loan was offering interest-free Covid Relief loans to all employees of Jewish organizations, regardless of religious background, it sounded too good to be true. But she went online and read the stories of others we had helped, then reached out to learn more. Within a few weeks, she and Michael had received an interest-free loan that let them breathe an enormous sigh of relief.

“The interest-free loan took a huge load of stress off our shoulders. Being new parents is a big responsibility, and we could relax and welcome our new baby home without worrying that we wouldn’t be able to pay our bills. We’re enormously grateful to Hebrew Free Loan and the entire Jewish community that’s welcomed us and made us feel like we belong.”

Bonnie didn’t grow up Jewish, but she’s absorbed a lot of Jewish culture and values over her years at the OFJCC. She and Michael have incorporated a weekly Shabbat observance into life with their two children: a daughter who recently turned one and a two-year-old son who attends the OFJCC preschool. The deep connection they’ve developed with the Jewish community makes family life richer for all of them.

Bonnie sees a bright future with her wonderful husband and two beautiful children. She continues to feel grateful for the interest-free Covid Relief loan from Hebrew Free Loan, which made it possible for her to keep working for a Jewish nonprofit at a job that gives her deep fulfillment.