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In a few days, Jews around the world will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  This is not the same type of celebration revelers enjoy on the eve of January 1st but a time when we review our deeds from the past year with the hope of improving ourselves and our actions in the year to come.  Rosh Hashanah serves as an annual reminder that we must constantly work at becoming better people throughout the year.

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The traditional Rosh Hashanah greeting, “L’shana Tova Tikatevu – may you be inscribed in the Book of Life,” speaks to our profound desire to be ethical and moral human beings, to be better than in the past year.  Rosh Hashanah helps us remember that those of us who are fortunate have the responsibility to make the world a better place for those who struggle.

The message of Rosh Hashanah rings true today as it has for thousands of years.  Today, it is more important than ever to believe in the power of compassion to repair our world; a tradition which is at the core of Jewish Family Services’ mission.

At a time when our friends and neighbors may be struggling to put food on their tables and keep roofs over their heads, it is up to every one of us to do what we can to help them.  Over the last year, JFS has helped thousands of individuals and families in Central Florida get back on their feet; however, still more of our neighbors need our help.

During the high holidays, when we look at ourselves and look to how we can improve the world, I urge you to join JFS in our efforts.  Learn more about JFS during or Evening of Valor fundraiser in October, take up a food collection drive, volunteer to deliver meals to a home bound elderly person this September or make a donation of time, money or other resources to help less fortunate members of the community. If you haven’t already done so, contact info@jfsorlando.org and we’ll talk about how you can join us in making your corner of the world a better place for all.

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Dear JFS Family,

We hope you received our latest, but first let us clear something up. Question of the day: is it a postcard or is it a newsletter? Well, we like to call it our JFS 2012 Newscard!

The economy is just not the same today. We at JFS are always on the lookout for innovative ways to keep you informed, while at the same time allowing more dollars for  serving our clients in need.  Hence, the latest endeavor —our JFS 2012 Newscard in your beautiful mailbox!

With the money we saved we can provide 200 extra meals, how about that!

Just one example of us staying committed to results and staying committed to using your dollars as promised.

On behalf of those who will benefit from your generosity, Thank You!

Visit http://www.jfsorlando.org to make a donation.

Macro Social Work class delivers more than backpacks to JFS!

Something happened last week that I can’t stop thinking about.  All summer long, the UCF Macro Social Work summer class has been working on a School Supply Drive project for JFS.  I (Hi, my name is Angie.)  knew about the project, and honestly didn’t think too much of it, until I was invited to the culmination presentation at their final class.  One of the students met us in the parking lot with parking passes, and that’s where we saw several of the students struggling with so many backpacks that the boxes broke.  We all grabbed some and headed off to class. Adrienne and I were the special guests of the evening.  (Wish I had worn a nicer outfit!)

The class had formed their own small social service agency.  Students formed teams to accomplish their goal of providing backpacks and supplies for JFS to distribute to help our youngest clients succeed academically. The final presentation was magnificent!  Each team shared their duties, their challenges, and their triumphs.  At the end, one of the students shared her video documentation of the project.

A Touching Story!

The class then presented us with over 200 backpacks, enough supplies to fill them all, over $700 in cash, and gift cards!  We were moved to tears by their hard work, generosity, and genuine interest in helping others.

The creativity and dedication this class showed was amazing.  Fundraisers included an atrium event where a donated lunch was traded for cash or school supplies—“You fill our backpacks, and we’ll fill your tummies”!  They even convinced a UCF Social Work professor to give her students extra credit for school supply donations. They also went into the community to solicit donations from local businesses, and shoppers at Kmart and Winn Dixie.

Not only were they successful in completing their School Supply Drive project, they successfully introduced MANY new people to Jewish Family Services, the little social service agency in Winter Park that works hard to serve all people in need and yet many people don’t know about us.  JFS exists to accomplish the Jewish mandate of Tikun Olam, to repair the world. With your help, we can continue our quest to help others.  Help us with a food drive, toy drive, financial contribution or volunteering. It feels great to help others.

Thank you Macro Social Work Summer Students!  Your individual hearts to serve and incredible hard work has touched us, motivated us and will never be forgotten.

Even worse 33% of children in Central Florida will not even qualify to eat on the  food stamp budget outlined in the SNAP program below!

Break Hunger

SNAP Challenge: Eating on a Food Stamp Budget – MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

We saw this wonderful challenge provided by Mazon (an International Hunger Effort).  With a few modifications below, we thought it might be fun to do this locally in response to our HUNGER Doesn’t Take a Summer Break fundraising appeal.  Are you up for the challenge?

ONE WEEK (More if you want!)

The rules for the SNAP Challenge?  Can you do this?

  1. Each person can spend a total of $31.50 on food and beverages during the Challenge week. This budget translates to $4.50 per day, or $1.50 per meal.
  2. Keep all receipts and track all your food and beverage spending. Any food or beverages purchased and eaten during the Challenge week must be accounted for in your budget. For the purposes of this Challenge, you must include in your budget any amount you spend dining out.
  3. During the Challenge, eat only food that you purchase specifically for the Challenge. Do not eat food that you already have in your pantry or refrigerator (excluding spices and condiments).

What can you buy with SNAP?

YES:

  •  Food for the household to eat
  •  Breads and cereals
  •  Fruits and vegetables
  •  Meats, fish and poultry
  •  Dairy products
  •  Seeds and plants which produce food

NO:

  •  Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
  • Nonfood items
  • Pet foods
  • Household supplies (soap, paper products, etc.)
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Hot (prepared) food

What to do during and after the SNAP Challenge:

  1. Share your personal experiences through social media, blog posts, op-eds to your local newspaper, or letters to your policymakers in Washington D.C. Be sure to share your thoughts with JFSOrlando as well. Tag us on Facebook (@jfsorlando) or Twitter (@jfsorlando #SNAP4aWeek) or email us.
  2. Donate to http://www.jfsorlando.org : your local nonprofit response to hunger, the additional amount you would have spent on food this week (or any amount you feel is appropriate).
  3. Remember this experience when you cast your ballot this Fall. Learn about food insecurity in your community, then ask your candidate(s) where they stand on food insecurity issues.

Mazon International devised this SNAP Challenge, this might be a fun local effort!

Please read article Give a can of food, save a life, from Adventures with Jen Cook.  She is so right, there is much that we can do.

Awesome Quick  Points to Remember

  • Approximately 1 in 5 of our population—732,000 people—needed food assistance in Central Florida last year.  That is a scary statistic.  Even scarier, 47% of clients served are children.
  • We set up a bin in my office, hit neighborhoods near us we weren’t assigned and were able to collect a record amount of food.
  • While I was waiting to drop off my carload of food, at least four different people walked up to us and thanked us for collecting the food.  My son just beamed with pride and I just tried my hardest not to cry.
  • It really makes you thankful for what you have in your life.  We may not have the pool I want, we may not be able to do the kitchen renovation that would make our house nicer, but you know what – we have food.  And so many do not.
  • The question now becomes – how do you help?  For starters, get collecting!
  • Go through your pantry, stock up during BOGO, hit Aldi and get some super cheap cans.
  • There are a number of great Central Florida non-profit groups doing good.
  • Click here to fill a tummy!

We collect food and donations also in Winter Park.  Address: 2100 Lee Rd. Winter Park, Fl 32789.  We are bracing for a 33% increase this year.
someecards.com - Hunger just doesn't take a summer break. www.jfsorlando.org DONATE

Break Hunger

Your Heart to Serve Can Break Hunger!

Occasionally, I will write a blog on one of the weekly portions of the Hebrew Bible that have relevance to what we try to accomplish at JFS.  This week’s portion is from the Book of Numbers, Chapter 4, entitled “Naso”.  The portion records the continuing journey of the ancient Israelites through the desert some 3,200 years ago and the required contributions of the Israelites to the Mishkan, the portable tabernacle.

Each family was required to bring items specific to their abundance, skills or availability. Artisans would craft and donate wooden beams, curtains or ritual items; others would make donations of silver or gold; still others would bring food for the priests.

And so it is with JFS.  Volunteers are needed on a daily basis to assist us with our charitable work in the community of feeding the hungry, helping the homeless and giving comfort to those experiencing life’s difficult times.  Each of us has a skill to contribute, a strong back willing to serve, or a heartfelt desire to write a check.  Bring those skills to JFS and watch how we continue to improve the quality of life for our neighbors living in Central Florida.

Eric Geboff

Donate to helpIt is a little hard to think that next door, in your own backyard, someone could be hungry. Last summer we distributed more than $81,220 worth of meals.  This summer, it will be more, and we need your support!

Your dollars count!  Imagine–your $100 donation, just made 38 tummies full*. Donate here today!

Hunger Thoughts

“Eating alone is a disappointment.
But not eating matter more,
is hollow and green,
has thorns like a chain of fish hooks,
trailing from the heart,
clawing at your insides.
Hunger feels like pincers,
like the bite of crabs;
it burns, burns,
and has no fur.
Let us sit down soon to eat
with all those who haven’t eaten;
let us spread great tablecloths,
put salt in lakes of the world,
set up planetary bakeries,
tables with strawberries in snow,
and a plate like the moon itself
from which we can all eat.
For now I ask no more than the justice of eating.”

~ Pablo Neruda, Chilean Poet

“A hundred years from now
it will not matter
what your bank account was,
the sort of house you lived in,
or the kind of clothes you wore,
but the world may be much different
because you were important
in the life of a hungr
y child.”
~ Author Unknown

*USDA 2010 Average Cost of a Meal in Florida is $2.62