April, 2018

Update from our Chief Executive Officer
Dear Friends;

Each April, we celebrate the dedication and altruism of individuals who give of their time and energy through National Volunteer Month. Here at JFCS, we take the opportunity to recognize our amazing volunteers, without whom we could not function.

With over 150 men and women giving of themselves to help others, our agency, quite literally, triples our workforce. To our Kosher Meals-on-wheels drivers, Friendly Visitors to homebound seniors, servers at our Café Europa luncheons, food pantry volunteers who fill and stock our shelves, and the host of volunteers who serve on JFCS committees, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Although we know that volunteerism provides a tremendous sense of personal satisfaction, we also understand that the commitment required is not an easy one. Each of us is pulled in many directions with personal, work and family responsibilities. Making the time to help others, taking the time to provide service to people and for people we would, otherwise, not even know, is the ultimate act of Chessed --- kindness, and it takes a very special person.

This month, we saw the kindness of so many volunteers, working together with other agencies at the March Mega Food Drive organized by our partners at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. As they collected and sorted over 4,000 pounds of food, their efforts provided abundant food and supplies to eight local food pantries, including our own pantries in Teaneck and the new one at our offices in Fair Lawn. Please see the articles in this newsletter highlighting the grand opening. We are grateful to our donors and volunteers who have enabled us to create this new critical service in an underserved community.

For those of you who may be inspired to start volunteering yourself, we encourage you to reach out to Patrick Kidd, our new Volunteer Coordinator at Patrickk@jfcsnnj.org or (201)837-9090. He will happily speak to you and match you to the appropriate volunteer opportunity. There is always an abundance of work to be done.

Again, many thanks to our volunteers past, present and future... you strengthen us and our community every day!!

Susan Greenbaum

Fair Lawn Food Pantry Grand Opening

I want you to imagine that you get up in the morning and notice that your cabinets and your pantry are running a little low; your refrigerator is getting empty.  You decide to stop at the store on the way home to buy a few things. When you get to the store, however, you realize you only have $13 in your wallet, and you left your credit card at home.  You really have so little left in terms of provisions, you decide to purchase what you can with the 13 dollars.
What do you buy?  What essentials do you select?  Most likely, milk, bread, eggs, maybe peanut butter.  That's it - that's all you can afford.  What don't you get?  Chicken, meat, cereal, any kind of produce, coffee, tea, snacks....
Now imagine that the $13 was your food allowance for the month.
That is the case for Mr. R, one of our pantry clients.  He is a Holocaust survivor, living on a fixed income, in low-income housing, and $13 is what he receives in food stamps for a month.
Another client is S.  She began her struggle with mental illness when she was a teenager, after a traumatic incident...today she lives in a dark place in her mind, haunted by vivid hallucinations and delusions.  Sometimes she works, sometimes she is homeless...never is she stable.  She receives $26 a month in food stamps; since she is a woman of childbearing years, she is allotted a bit extra for milk.
Finally, we know B.  When she came to JFCS, she had already filed a restraining order and divorce papers against a husband who routinely beat and berated and stole from her, and she had gained full custody of their disabled daughter.  However, she had also been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and her medications were extraordinarily expensive.  She wants to take the medication for as long as she can, because she knows that when she dies, her daughter will become a ward of the state.
Each of these clients is real.  They all receive assistance each month through the Jewish Family  Children's Services Food Pantry.  But not all of our clients cases are so extreme.  We see the single mothers, living in large homes after their husbands have left them with the children and the mortgage, unable to adequately feed their families.  We see the underemployed - working part time hours and having to choose between medical insurance coverage and food.  We see the family struggling through a difficult month financially, who just needs short term assistance to bridge the gap until the next paycheck arrives.
We see so many of these clients that we have opened a second pantry in Fair Lawn.  We are grateful for the generosity of the community that has allowed us to provide this service to those in need.  If you or someone you know is in need of this type of help, please call our office at (201) 837-9090.

Jewish Family & Children's Services of Northern New Jersey
Offices in Teaneck, Wayne and Fair Lawn
For more information call 201-837-9090
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