Jewish Family Service wrapped up a successful Hanukkah Tzedakah Project and Fall Food Drive, thanks to the participation of a record number of donors.
Now in its fifth year, the Hanukkah Tzedakah Project matches JFS Emergency Servicesâ€™ clients with donor corporate groups, schools, families and individuals. The donors are provided with a profile of the recipient family, a “wish list” of gifts, and sent off to purchase items. “There is no typical recipient family,” according to Carol Mullin, Director of Emergency Services at JFS. “Our clients include all-adult families, disabled single parents and working families who just have enough to buy groceries and pay the rent, with nothing left for the â€˜extrasâ€™ that make the holidays special.”
Over 100 families benefited from participation in the program this year. In addition to collecting gifts, JFS received cash donations to buy gift certificates for clients who were not matched. If clients are unable to pick up their gifts, JFS volunteers make deliveries to individual homes. “The anonymity of the gift-giving maintains the dignity and the privacy of the recipient families, while still allowing for a great deal of delight at getting just the right thing,” says Mullin. “One recipient wrote to her anonymous donor, â€˜You must be very thoughtful and generous to give presents to people youâ€™ve never even met.â€™”
The Hanukkah Tzedakah project followed the traditional Fall Food Drive. Approximately 54,610 pounds of non-perishable food were collected for distribution throughout the year. Beginning on Yom Kippur and extending through Thanksgiving, area synagogues, schools and individuals joined year-round donors Food Lifeline, Northwest Harvest and Puget Consumersâ€™ Cooperative to stock the shelves at the two food banks operated by Jewish Family Service. Volunteers helped box the donations at the community-wide “Sorting Day” on Oct. 29.
To wrap up the year, the “Got Oil” Campaign is currently under way. “We always need oil, and what a great tie-in with the Hanukkah theme,” says Jeanie Rosen, JFS Board member, Foodbank Volunteer and an originator of the program. Special effort is always made to provide JFS Food Bank users with holiday-related food and supplies during the appropriate seasons. At Hanukkah, bottles of oil, along with potatoes and onions, are distributed for latke making.
The need for volunteers at Jewish Family Serviceâ€™s Food Banks is continuous and extends year-round. And of course, food donations are always welcome. For additional information, contact Carol Mullin at 206-461-3240 or visit the JFS Web site at www.jfsseattle.org.