The JFS Year in Review
What a year it has been!!
Unless you have been living under a rock and don’t have wi-fi, you know there has been a pandemic, a lot of virtual/zoom programming…
But what has JFS been doing? I think it can be broken down into two major areas. 
At the end of the last JFS year/last spring and over the summer and beyond, the agency pivoted rather adeptly to serving people remotely. Food delivery continued physically but socially distanced. Hebrew free loan and emergency assistance continued as before as did supporting Holocaust Survivors in need of home care, coordinated by JFS, funded by the Claims Conference. Counseling went remote and so did most of the programs such as job seekers, Café Europa, special needs, family mentoring, Ohr Tikva, Family Life Education…
Secondly, we used this opportunity to build some infrastructure.
Zoom, Hybrid… We set systems so our team, including the clinicians, could counsel people over the internet. These changes also dovetailed with a grant we coordinated to assist seniors unfamiliar with Internet access to have some access using their television. 
Expanding our volunteer base. While some felt unable to volunteer because of the pandemic, some folks had new found time or inclination to volunteer because of the pandemic. Hopefully, as previous volunteers return, the new volunteers will remain and our volunteer base will be even stronger. Last year volunteers donated more than 3000 hours of service, in addition to paying for their own transportation etc. 
Financial stability and our dedicated staff is also part of our infrastructure. During the height of the pandemic, JFS maintained all of its employees on their regular hours. Hopefully, this commitment to our employees will help keep them as the dedicated team serving our community. JFS also benefited from a PPP loan. And we also, along with the whole Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Jewish Federation, worked on establishing a new relationship with the Greater Mercer County Jewish Foundation. We are hopeful to take advantage of synergies from this relationship in the future. One program in particular, they are helping us develop a Life and Legacy program. This program facilitates people maintaining their support of the institutions our predecessors left to them and that they have supported, and benefited from during their lives. Please contact us for more information on this opportunity. These donations will help build an endowment for JFS and throughout our community.
As a board and professional team we used zoom to meet and offer community events, which were also fundraisers. Our annual Soup for the Soul was a big hit. The community and speaker were virtual but the super yummy soup was real. Our Spring Symposium offered humor as well as a trip down memory lane through the Catskills. 
We want to offer a special thanks to outgoing board member Monica Skydell and outgoing board member, board secretary (and souper :-) chef) Barbara Drew. We welcome Jill Lavitsky, David Singer and Carolyn Katz to the executive committee and thank Helaine Weisberg for her years on the executive committee helping to steer JFS through the up’s and down’s and especially during this past year of the pandemic. We also wish to thank Ruth Edelman for her many years of service as board member, agency president and agency professional.
Finally, I personally want to thank all of our supporters; JFS could not do its work without you. Among our supporters, as special shout out to our board and executive committee members for all your work. Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank our professional team, lead adeptly but unassumingly by Jerry Starr, for their tireless devotion to the people we serve.
Have a great summer!