26 years of brightening Hanukkah for local children and teens

by | Oct 22, 2018 | Other News

I’m a single mother of a young child. I work full time and attend college classes in the evening. I have some wonderful neighbors and friends who help with watching my child when I am away. My child’s father doesn’t have a job, and is not able to pay any child support to help me.

I have been coming to Jewish Family Service for a few years and they help me with food, school supplies for my child, and gifts at Hanukkah time. They also just sent me a grocery gift card so that I could prepare a special meal for Rosh Hashanah. Their annual Chanukah Gift Program for local children and teens has been such a big help. They told me to give them a wish list of things that my child needed (clothes and school supplies, along with things he would like to have (toys, games, books). JFS staff explained that they have numerous very generous donors and that we could get gifts for my child. Clearly, I don’t have any extra money to buy any of these things for him. All of our money goes to pay rent, lights, water, and food.

Each year, JFS donors manage to find most, if not all, of the things on our gift wish list for my son. He got Lego sets, Pokemon cards, new pants, sweaters, socks, and this past year, someone bought him a new bicycle. When I come for the gifts, JFS also gives me Hanukkah wrapping paper, ribbons, and decorations. That really is important to me so I can wrap each gift myself. This is the message I wrote to all who helped my family last year or who may be helping us or another family again this year:

“Dear Spectacular Donors: I am grateful and appreciate your generous presents to my family. I am a single mom and with your help I was able to give my child a wonderful Hanukkah! I can never thank you enough. You have no idea how much your help has meant to us. This past year has been a challenging time, but with the generosity of you, we have made it through. Thank you for showing love and kindness to my family.

From: A Grateful Family.”

The 26th Annual Chanukah Gift Program

Jewish Family Service of Tidewater’s annual Chanukah Gift Program, which provides holiday gifts to local Jewish children and teens living in financially struggling families, begins this month. The first night of Hanukkah this year is December 2. JFS expects to serve more than 75 local children and teens during 2018’s holidays.

How to help

  • Purchase new, unwrapped gifts for specific children and teens in need. Donors may call JFS at 757-459-4640 for children’s wish lists.
  • When shopping with your family, buy some extra items for those in need. Be sure to involve your own children in the shopping experience to help them learn about tzedakah.
  • Send JFS gift cards from local stores or Amazon or Visa so that families can go shopping themselves.
  • Send JFS a tax-deductible donation and JFS will do the shopping for the children and teens.

Hanukkah donations must be received by November 16, 2018. Make checks payable to JFS, ATTN: Maryann Kettyle, 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 400, Virginia Beach, VA 23462.

Written on behalf of a Jewish Family Service client

Jewish Family Service assists local Jewish families in need all year and will keep any surplus donations for use throughout 2018-2019. For more information, contact Maryann Kettyle, at JFS at 757-459-4640 or MKettyle@jfshamptonroads.org.