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Litzie and Maisha with the toys they collected
Dear Embrace-A-Family supporter,
There is absolutely no way to thank you enough for the wonderful job you’ve done supporting JFS’s annual Embrace-A-Family!
It’s your tireless support that provides us the privilege to run this program that is growing and expanding every single year. We couldn’t do it without you. In every single capacity where we needed help, you stepped up and beyond. YOU are the loving arms of Embrace-A-Family.
Let’s take a minute to reflect on how you made this program work:
First, there’s the purposeful way people charged up the steps and came through the office door, gifts and dreidels and smiles tumbling one after another onto Valerie’s desk. But wait - it might not be Valerie at the desk, more likely it’s one of you – a volunteer, accepting, filing, and thanking our donors.
Then there’s the hustle and bustle of the offices, the excitement as the hallway, offices, cubicles and classrooms overflow with the generous bounty we’re receiving. For a few weeks at the end of every year, JFS – always busy – takes on a warehouse atmosphere. Letters fly from office doorways indicating where our volunteers will deliver the gifts, after other volunteers checked them in, and sorted them out. People step around the food processors, vacuum cleaners, pillows, blankets, books, jackets, sweaters, socks, sweats, and toys toys toys as they negotiate their way from Room A to Z.
And through it all, the smiles. The intense exciting energy. The sheer joy of generous spirit…
Then, just when things might start to settle, we’ll get a massive delivery from one of the outstanding organizations, like the LDS Church, who took on so many dreidels and boards that we’ve had to race to keep up. Volunteers who’ve manned our boards arrive laden down with their dreidel results.
In middle of the gift giving and sharing, we always prepare our Holiday Food Bags, for our neediest community members. And there you are again, stepping forward to deliver the bags to those most in need.
And then there are our seniors in residential facilities, with our Chaplain Aides there, lighting Chanukah candles and offering latkes, jelly donuts, and joy.
Finally it’s all about the recipients. The dazed look they all share as they leave the building with carts overflowing with the wonderful wishes you’ve fulfilled.
There’s the Holocaust survivor senior who arrived a year and a half ago from Moscow who is still waiting to get her own subsidized apartment. She left here with kitchen and household items, feeling safe and welcome.
And so many needy seniors received gift cards to help them purchase those simple necessities that you placed within their reach. And in Chai House, rows of smiling cozy residents admiring their warmly ensconced feet, cozy in their new fuzzy winter-defeating socks.
And the families! Children lighting up at the sight of a new toy, perhaps something they can’t remember having before, in their short lives.
Or the Spanish speaking woman who rents a garage for herself and her two kids, who was so overcome to receive a comforter, a warm blanket and gift cards, that our Director of Clinical Services teared up when her children called to tell her what a huge difference these gifts made for their holiday.
And the Ethiopian family, at last reunited after 2 ½ years of separation. The mother, an asylum seeker, arrived in July 2016. Since finishing our Connections to Work program, she’s been steadily employed. In early December her husband, 14 year old daughter and 23 year old son finally arrived. Now the entire family was welcomed with winter jackets, clothing, bedding, towels, kitchen and household items. The husband and son are daily fixtures here at JFS, where they’re attending our vocational English classes.
We know how important each and every story is, from the part of the giver to receiver. You help us help each other make our world, or at least our little slice of it here at JFS, a better, warmer, welcoming, nurturing place for every single person, every single day.
Congratulate yourselves as we congratulate you!
Best Wishes for a happy, healthy and exultant 2019!
Lori. Sheila and the entire JFS staff
Mindy, Zoya with Blanca from LDS
Lori and local LDS
stake member with some of their donations
Caroline at the office with
EAF donated gifts