A Holiday Season of Giving and Receiving for JFS Clients and Families

The holiday season is a busy time for JFS. It is a time of year when we do our best to ensure that individuals and families who would typically be unable to put a holiday meal on their table or participate in the traditional gift-giving of Chanukah are able to do so.

With your generosity, donations, and exceptional shopping skills, we were able are to brighten the holidays for so many this year while bringing a sense of gratitude and pride to those we serve.

Thanksgiving – Requests for emergency groceries from our Food Pantry saw a 300% increase during the month of November, which allowed us to provide 70 people, including adults and children with much needed groceries.

In addition to the rise in emergency groceries requested, JFS identified clients who needed assistance so they too could enjoy a plentiful Thanksgiving dinner for themselves and their families. We were fortunate to receive a lovely donation of gift cards for Thanksgiving dinners. That, coupled with other items donated, including turkeys allowed many families to enjoy a traditional holiday mean that most of us have come to expect.

One young mother of two small boys could barely contain her excitement as she came to pick up her donation. She told us she had been scouring the internet for recipes, commenting that she and her boys loved Thanksgiving and now she would be able to prepare, cook, and freeze several meals for the coming weeks ahead.

Chanukah – For almost 10 years, JFS’ Dreidel Drive/Chanukah Toy Drive has been bringing holiday happiness to many children and families as well as older adults who cannot afford to purchase gifts for their loved ones during the winter holiday season. Not only does JFS collect gifts from you, our generous community, but one of the best parts of the program is that we give our clients, children, parents, and seniors alike, the ability to ask for exactly what they would like to receive. So from toys, and gift cards to clothing and food, we do our best to make the holiday season as personal as possible for our clients. We have found that this brings great joy and smiles to so many.

This year, 93 individuals received Chanukah gifts, ranging from gift cards for food, gas, haircuts, shoes, movies, toys, and more, to actual gifts of clothing, toys, and arts and crafts. One of our 74-year-old senior adults teared up as she shared how impressed she was that someone actually got her the Paint-by- Number set that she requested. She said, “They really listened to me.” Another couple who benefit benefitted from gifts collected during the drive was thrilled that JFS would think of them and remember them at this time.

Even our youth from Hebrew High got involved by contributing to the tape, ribbon, wrapping paper, menorahs, and candles that were collected.

We even received a very large, wooden kitchen set that was not requested but was so very much appreciated by its recipient. Seniors – One of the highlights of the Chanukah season is the way in which we engage our seniors in the holiday traditions.

This year, one special highlight in addition to the Senior Adult Chanukah Celebration was when one Maggie Fogel, one of our Board Members took a small group of children over to Sunrise Assisted Living to celebrate Chanukah with the seniors. This inter-generational activity was loved by all.

So much so that the children are asking if they can go back again. They gathered together to light the menorah, sing songs and play a little bingo.

Families in need come to JFS year-round, for counseling services, domestic violence assistance, supplemental food, caregiver support and issues that arise from aging.