Making Connections
Your Monthly Update on Our Work and Impact
From Gail's Desk
December 22, 2022
Greetings!

I hope the first half of Chanukah has been filled with light and joy for you and your families. The Chanukah menorah reminds me of our work at JF&CS: to bring light into people’s lives when they are most vulnerable.    
 
Today we share eight “bright lights” of our work at JF&CS. These moments of caring, impact, and resilience strengthen my commitment to do even more – and I hope they will bolster you, too.
 
Thank you for your continued partnership. May you carry forward the lights of Chanukah into the new year.
 
Chag sameach/happy holiday,
Gail Schulman
Chief Executive Officer


P.S. If you haven't had a chance to donate this year yet, I hope you'll consider donating to the JF&CS End of Year 2022 Giving Campaign. Your donations will enable us to bring warmth to those in need; together, we can help families pay their bills, surround struggling people with mental health support, and help people with disabilities live a life of dignity and independence. 
Family Table innovates to meet growing food insecurity
-
-
Clients at the Family Table Marketplace are greeted by the sight of heaps of fresh, high-quality produce - black and red radishes, corn, bok choy, Swiss chard, and even oyster mushrooms. How has JF&CS managed to maintain and even enhance the quality and variety of our fresh offerings? By leaning on deep community partnerships – including with Boston Area Gleaners, which harvests and packs surplus food “rescued” from local farms. These partnerships—and the commitment of more than 1,000 volunteers—enable Family Table to have an impact far in excess of the actual funds spent.  
Chanukah bag delivery brings holiday joy and tradition to Holocaust survivors
-
-
-
Last week, JF&CS volunteers delivered over 50 Chanukah bags filled with treats to help the Holocaust survivors we support on the North Shore celebrate the festival of lights. The bags were created and decorated by students at the Epstein Hillel School. They are part of our work to foster social connection for clients of JF&CS Schechter Holocaust Services – in addition to helping them meet basic needs and manage activities of daily living so they can live in their home of choice. JF&CS supports 425 Holocaust survivors, with attention to their emotional, financial, and social needs. Contrary to popular expectations, the number of survivors in need is increasing each year as survivors age — Schechter has continued to add new clients in the last year and is still growing.
"Diversity in Early Relationship Support" course sees successful inaugural session
-
-
-
Our new training course in Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation kicked off this year. It’s a culturally sensitive, prevention-based approach to help early childhood caregivers address children’s social and emotional development. The course is targeted specifically to providers of color to better support children from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. These professionals recently gathered for an all-day retreat in Dorchester. One participant shared, “I felt like I found my tribe.” Another commented, “It was one of the most hope-filled work experiences I can recall.”
CHAI Residences have summer tea party
-
-
In August, residents at three of our 24/7 group homes for adults with disabilities, gathered for a tea party, complete with fancy outfits and an impressive spread of tea and treats. This initiative is just one creative way that our staff works to engage our clients in joyful ways to create community and promote independence.
Our work with people with dementia gets national recognition
-
-
In September, JF&CS was one of only four organizations honored with a 2022 national Maude’s Award for our innovative collaboration with the Dementia Action Alliance. The work focuses on helping memory cafés foster leadership and empowerment among people living with dementia. JF&CS is the statewide leader for memory cafés, which are welcoming places for people with forgetfulness or other changes in their thinking and for their family and friends. JF&CS holds our own memory café monthly—with opportunities for music, art, or just for sharing.  
Mental Health Connect serves record number of callers
-
-
Mental Health Connect, our free and confidential information and referral service, saw a record-breaking volume of calls in November. This news is bittersweet – we are glad to see so many in our community reaching out and receiving help, but it is more evidence of the mental health crisis in our community. If you are struggling with any mental health concerns, do not hesitate to call 781-693-5562 or email Mental Health Connect at mentalhealth@jfcsboston.org.
JF&CS on The Boston Globe's 2022 Top 100 Women-Led Businesses List
-
-
JF&CS was honored to have been named as a 2022 Top 100 Women-Led Business in Massachusetts by The Boston Globe & The Women’s Edge. The judges reviewed organizations based on size, impact, diversity, and innovation, among other factors, with a focus on the response to the unique challenges of the last few years. We were particularly gratified that our Mental Health Connect help line was called out as a noteworthy innovation and a response to community needs. Congratulations to all of the women and organizations leading the Commonwealth forward!
A Braided Strand of Compassion - New Mosaic at JF&CS headquarters
-
-
When you enter the doors of Family Table’s Waltham location at the JF&CS headquarters, a new sight greets you. Twelve feet long and representing a fusion of 42 talented artists from the New England Mosaic Society, “Braided” is a mosaic that makes a powerful statement of artistry and values. The piece honors the expansion of the Family Table space. The artists interviewed JF&CS staff and highlighted themes from our work – justice, food insecurity, support for people with disabilities, mental health, and so much more. Each artist then created a beautiful mosaic tile to represent each of them, which were then braided with the others to show the way that JF&CS's intertwined services combine to magnify their collective impact. We invite you to check it out in our Waltham offices or to learn more here.
The Shamash
-
The shamash candle – the “helper” candle that lights all the rest of the Chanukkah candles – is you, our community. Thousands of donors and volunteers fueled our work this year, enabling JF&CS to serve 14,000 people in our community.
 
One example of the JF&CS community bringing light to others is the corps of volunteers who work with our Lauren & Mark Rubin Visiting Moms program, helping new parents with experienced support and companionship during the first year of a child’s life. In May, the Visiting Moms volunteers met for a Volunteer Appreciation Gathering to catch up, share stories of their experiences, and be honored for their service. Just as we honored the Visiting Moms this summer, we honor all of you for your help throughout the year. Thank you for supporting our work!
jfcsboston.org | 781-647-JFCS (5327)
Waltham Headquarters | Brighton | Canton | Central MA | North Shore