JFCS works year round to help vulnerable people in the Portland area achieve well-being, health, and stability. During the year-end holiday season, however, we go the extra mile to help people who are facing adversity feel more connected to their community.
As we ramp up for our two annual Holiday Campaigns, we'll once again look to our community partner organizations, donors and volunteers who are so key to our work. The Thanksgiving food boxes we deliver will provide bountiful meals that feed more than 600 people. And, through our Adopt-a-Family campaign we'll buy, wrap, and deliver special gifts to 60 low-income households.
The Hanukkah and Christmas "wish lists" of the participants reinforce the fact that life's good fortune is unevenly distributed. Many of the requests are simple: a pair of walking shoes, frames to hold cherished photos, a warm jacket for a 5-year-old.
When the community comes together, great things happen!
You can help support these important
once-a-year events, as a partner organization, volunteer or donor.
We are currently seeking additional partner organizations to help us fill the ever growing need in our community.
At Thanksgiving, partners collect a specific food item that will round out a delicious, nutritious dinner. The goal for each partner is to collect 150 of the item they are assigned.
For Adopt-a-Family our partners fulfill wish lists for one or more needy families that would not otherwise have gifts for Hanukkah or Christmas. These generous gift bundles contain basic necessities-such as kitchen items or cold weather gear-as well as toys, books, and other gifts for the kids.
If you can help as a partner organization for one or both programs in the Holiday Campaigns, please contact Carrie Kaufman at
To sign up as a volunteer, contact Phoenix Barrow at
or at 503-535-4055.
I invite you to join us!
Carrie Hoops, Executive director JFCS
October is Domestic Violence
Throughout October, numerous organizations nationwide are raising awareness about domestic violence and discussing effective ways to help end it.
JFCS provides crucial, behind-the-scenes services to individuals and families who are recovering from domestic violence-people who in many cases would otherwise be invisible and highly vulnerable.
On a case-by-case basis, JFCS provides limited emergency aid to help people in crisis settle into a safer living situation. We also guide them toward community resources where they can find stable housing, medical care, legal assistance, and other services.
Our life skills and behavior supports can help people break abusive cycles, develop safety plans, learn empowerment skills, and recognize dangerous, unhealthy relationships. And, on a long-term basis, our licensed clinical social workers can help people who've experienced intimate partner abuse move toward a life that is no longer limited by violence and fear.
To learn more about domestic violence resources, visit
For more information about relevant JFCS programs, contact Brian Fallon, Lifeline Services Program Director, at
or at 503-226-7079, ext. 121.
Making Workplaces More Inclusive
Observed each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a nationwide campaign that educates the public about disability employment issues and celebrates the contributions of America's workers with disabilities, past and present.
More than 70 percent of people with disabilities in the United States are unemployed. For a community that represents 20 percent of the entire American population, people with disabilities are far underrepresented in the workplace.
But inclusion is something that we can all contribute to. Here are four simple steps that any workplace can take to increase inclusion:
People with disabilities may need reasonable accommodations to do their jobs. Technology offers reasonably priced accommodations for a number of disabilities, such as speech-to-text software for a visually impaired employee or captioning screens for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Partner with a job-training agency.
Find the non-profit agencies in your community that are providing job coaching training for people with disabilities and partner with them to bring the supports that employees may need right to the job.
Create an accessible environment.
Make sure that your office or facility includes restrooms, hallways, and storage space that are accessible for people of all heights and mobility.
Ensure online accessibility.
Inclusion extends to your online presence. You can make your web site more accessible with simple steps like using alt tags that translate visual images and captioning on videos.
Source: the Ruderman Foundation
For more information about JFCS's Disability Support Services, contact Brian Fallon, Lifeline Services Program Director, at
or at 503-226-7079, ext. 121.
Please Join us in Welcoming two staff members to JFCS
has been named the new Inclusion Specialist for the TASK (Treasuring, Accepting, & Supporting Kehillah) program. In this position, Janet will serve as an advocate on disability issues, including consultations, referrals, and guardianship-all designed to enhance participants' autonomy and integration into the Jewish community.
Janet was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. She graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Institutional Management and Dietetics, and a minor in Business Administration.
Janet initially joined JFCS in April 2015 as a skills trainer with the Partners for Independence program, helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities build the skills they need to become more independent. She has also been a member of the TASK Advisory Board since it was created and helped with Cedar Sinai Park's Kehillah housing project, which provides affordable housing for income-qualified adults with developmental disabilities. In addition to spending time with family and friends, Janet enjoys traveling, knitting, and reading.
joined JFCS in August 2016 as the Lifeline Services Assistant, providing client and administrative support to the Lifeline programs, which include Emergency Aid and Holocaust Survivor Services.
Karen holds a B.A. in Psychology of Health and Healing from Naropa University, with a concentration in Health Care Administration and Facilities Management. In addition, she holds a Master of Science degree in Management from Antioch University New England, with a concentration in Marketing Health Care and Hospice Services.
Continually in awe of the majestic beauty of the area, Karen enjoys being on or near the water, the performing and visual arts, great films, and Blazer games. She loves singing, writing, and as a "cat whisperer," loves anything and everything feline.
Gathering for the Greater Good
On Sunday, September 11, JFCS joined with Islamic Social Services of Oregon State (ISOS) and other local partners to hold Day of Dignity, an annual event
that offers aid to homeless individuals and families in downtown Portland.
The Day of Dignity campaign, which was also carried out in 16 other cities nationwide, aims to unite people of different faiths and to advocate for long-lasting programs that foster community service and volunteerism year-round.
In addition to JFCS, the many local partners included Blanchet House, the Oregon Food Bank, Outside In, the Oregon Islamic Chaplains Organization, and the Japanese American Citizen League.
An estimated 500 people gathered to receive hot meals, haircuts, medical screenings, warm clothing, school supplies, and more, including information about available community resources. JFCS distributed hundreds of knit hats and pairs of gloves.
This year's event was particularly poignant as it fell on the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
It was also the day when Eid al-Adha, one of Islam's holiest festivals, was commemorated around the world; the date changes each year depending on the lunar calendar.
For Maria Rehbach, JFCS Emergency Aid Coordinator, the community-wide event represented more than handing out supplies: "For me, it's not just about providing basic necessities to those who are struggling, but also about changing the story, educating, and breaking down barriers."
Maria remarked that many of the Muslims working at Day of Dignity were fasting in celebration of Eid-al-Adha, while also serving food to hundreds of hungry people.
"By working together, we were able to make a difference to 500 individuals and families-far more than we could individually-that have been uprooted and pushed out of sight and into the shadows, right here in Portland. Being homeless is not a crime, being Muslim is not a crime. Everyone needs to have a place to call home, where they feel safe and have food, shelter, and a sense of dignity."
For more information about JFCS's Emergency Aid Program, contact Maria Rehbach, Emergency Aid Coordinator, at
or at 503-226-7079, ext. 128