hpWouldn’t it be wonderful if we were able to end hunger in our community, one day that may be possible but not without your help!

Jewish Family Services’ annual Feinstein Challenge food and fund drive began Friday, March 1st and we are at 10% of our 30,000 meal goal.

We need your help! For every dollar donated to JFS we can purchase $6 worth of food to distribute to those in need through our Pearlman Food Pantry. Food donations (such as peanut butter, cereal, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta and other non-perishable food items) can be dropped off at JFS’ office at 2100 Lee Road in Winter Park through April 30th. Please contact us at (407) 644-7593 if you are interested in helping us reach our goal of collecting 30,000 meals to feed hungry families in our community.

Meet The Meal-O-Meter

If you have helped in the past than Thank you and we appreciate you participating again this year, if you have not participated in the past than thank you for joining us in our quest to end hunger in Central Florida!


We really hope you enjoyed the Glow & Golf event, and we wanted to show our appreciation with our latest video blog!

Be sure to stay till the end for a special treat.


The JFS Family

P.S. Save the Date for the JFS Annual Spring Event Honoring Paul & Barbara Grossman April 28, 2013 at the Orlando Museum of Art!

Whenever we at JFS find a group that does what we do, we celebrate!!!!  We know, through experience, that there is so much work out there to be done in order to repair the world.

We hope you’re inspired and can get a better picture of what is being done right here in Orlando.  Thank you to Jewish Family Service-Cincinnati for this awesome visual representation of the work we do!

Strong-FamiliesWe just wanted to share this notice with our JFS family.

Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership at Rollins College

Important information to keep in mind with end of the year donations…

2012 End of Year Donations

The IRS’s basic rule is that a gift must be “delivered” to the charity by 12/31. Cash and checks must be handed over to the organization by 12/31 if delivered in person or if sent using a private service like FedEx or UPS. If the donation is mailed through the US Post Office, it must have a postmark of 12/31. The organization will receive it after 12/31, but that is ok because the donor relinquished control (the IRS’s baseline threshold for determining a gift date) on the date s/he put the donation in the mail on or before 12/31. Credit card gifts must be “fully processed,” i.e., approved by the credit card merchant, for the gift to be considered “delivered” by the due date.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals also provides useful information…

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Chrissy (on the right ) with her mother and two of her kids

Chrissy (on the right ) with her mother and two of her kids

People Helping People!!!

Below is an article we would like to share from the Orlando Sentinel: Jewish Family Services provides stabilizing influence for area family

By Lauren Roth, lroth@tribune.com, Orlando Sentinel   POSTED 5:47 PM EST, December 12, 2012

With her second daughter born prematurely and her husband in jail, Chrissy Johnson knew she needed to take charge of her life.

Her $16,000 salary as an airport security officer was not covering the needs of her growing family, and she sometimes needed food assistance or help paying bills from family members.

Last August, her husband, Anthony, was arrested for burglarizing a car. Her daughter, Annalise, was born in October — two months early — after doctors couldn’t get Chrissy’s high blood pressure under control. At the same time, her eldest daughter, Antoni, was starting kindergarten.

“I was an emotional basket case, and he wasn’t there for it,” Johnson said.

A lifeline — the Family Stabilization Program offered by Jewish Family Services — “was right on time,” she said.

The Family Stabilization Program is funded, in part, by the Orlando Sentinel Family Fund Holiday Campaign, as well as other foundations, corporations and government sources. The program does not require recipients to be Jewish, and most are not.

Case manager Adrienne Cooperman became Johnson’s cheerleader, confidante and sounding board. When Johnson told Cooperman that she wanted to go back to college to finish her bachelor’s degree at UCF, it became a priority.

“You’re not going to get ahead without an education,” Cooperman said. “We discuss it a lot.”

The Family Stabilization Program provides people with a way to overhaul their lives.

“We teach people how to do things,” Cooperman said.

The six-month program, which includes budgeting sessions, counseling, case management and evening seminars, aims to increase household income in the long term.

It works with every enrolled family on money management, housing, family function and parenting, emotional and mental coping skills, employability, and job security.

Typically, about 65 to 70 families take part in the program annually, which requires the participation of an employed or recently employed adult. The program involves 12 one- to two-hour workshops, counseling sessions and budgeting sessions over a half-year.

Jewish Family Services follows up with families for an additional six months.

Typically, about three-quarters of the participants make life changes, Cooperman said. Forty-five percent improve their income, and 30 percent go back to school.

Johnson said the personalized financial planning sessions helped her learn to budget for long-term needs, such as car repairs, and not just short-term priorities like bills. A résumé workshop helped her market her strengths in more forceful language. Housing assistance covered her rent and light bills as she returned to work after maternity leave. And counseling sessions have helped Chrissy and Antoni deal with Anthony’s absence.

But for Chrissy, the most important thing she could do to change her life was go back to school. With Cooperman’s encouragement and gentle nagging, she is working full time to complete her English degree at UCF, where she took classes from 1996-2001 without finishing.

She has had to take out loans to do it, but is hopeful that a job as a technical writer, paying at least $40,000 a year to start, could change everything for her daughters.

“It’ll make all the difference in the world,” she said. “You can’t find a job that will sustain a family of three or four without having a degree and give them a nice lifestyle.”

She expects to graduate in December 2013.

Johnson said it’s also important to set an example for Antoni, 6, and Annalise, now 13 months.

“I want them to see that I’m doing it, and they can do it, too,” Johnson said.

Copyright © 2012, Orlando Sentinel
Jewish Family Services is supported in part by Orlando Sentinel Family Fund.

After reading this blog article on

How to Do 8 Nights of Hanukkah Without Creating Spoiled Brats | Raising Kvell.


We wanted to share some thoughts from our Center for Counseling, Growth and Development department.

Celebrating the Holidays In an

Interfaith Home

The December holidays present particular challenges for interfaith families.  Parents think about their own holiday traditions and what the children will miss, if they have decided to practice one faithIf you can accept that there will be compromises then you are halfway there. 

While the parents‘ needs are important, it is better to keep the focus on the children’s needs. Use every celebration of a holiday as a teachable moment. Children should be given knowledge and education of each parent’s particular faith, even if they are being raised with one religion.  Be sensitive and always be ready with an honest answer to their questions.

The parents should be responsible for coming to a mutual decision about how the holidays will be celebrated and share the decision with their children.  Leaving the decision to children may cause them to be confused and worried that they will choose unwisely and offend a parent.  Susan Weissmann, Clinical Director at Jewish Family Services (JFS), states “It is key to help children understand that they can enjoy each parent’s holiday without betraying either parent or their religious upbringing.”

It may be agreed upon that both holidays are celebrated in the household, which can give the children a greater understanding of the different ways people observe his or her faith.  Allowing them to delight in the full array of traditions will only enhance their awareness of this culturally diverse world. If only one faith is practiced then find common ground.  All religious and cultural holidays have at least the shared element of harmony.

By openly communicating, showing respect for each person’s faith, and being flexible, the holidays can be a celebration for all.  JFS wishes you a Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa or any other tradition your family celebrates at this time of year.

There’s giving, and then there’s giving.

Like the sort that’s empowered the Family Stabilization Program at Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando to help rebuild families and get them housed. Like other groups doing the heavy lifting of serving Central Floridians in need, generous community giving defrays their good works.1

Read more with the Orlando Sentinel here…

How to Help?

We are accepting toys and food for this holiday season. Please visit us in Winter Park!