27 years of bringing light to local Jewish children and teens

by | Nov 11, 2019 | Other News

A Jewish Family Service client

I was in a domestic abuse situation for a long time. I finally got the courage to leave and move back in with family. I was pregnant at the time. Although my family was able to take me in, they were not prepared for the new costs of caring for a baby. I was able to apply for benefits (Food Stamps and Medicaid), but still needed much more for the new baby.

A close friend told me to call Jewish Family Service for help. They met with me right away and never judged me, or my situation. They told me about this program for local Jewish families to get things they need and want for their children during Hanukkah. I told them I needed everything for my toddler and now unborn baby. They told me to give them a wish list of things that my children needed (clothes and diapers), along with things that I would like to have (toys, games, books). JFS staff explained that they had numerous very generous donors and that we could get gifts for both of my children.

Their annual Chanukah Gift Project for local children was such a big help. I received a carload filled with infant clothes, supplies, formula, and diapers. My toddler received new clothes, a winter coat, toys, books, and games. When I came for the gifts, JFS also gave me Hanukkah wrapping paper, ribbons, and decorations. I took everything home and my mom and I wrapped all of my toddler’s gifts.

This is my message to donors: “I cannot tell you how surprised I was to receive so many gifts for my family. I did not know that strangers could be so generous. My toddler will have new clothes and fun toys for the whole year and my new baby will have what she needs for many months. I am very, very grateful. You have all really helped us!”

The 27th Annual Chanukah Gift Program

Jewish Family Service of Tidewater’s annual Chanukah Gift Program, which provides holiday gifts to local Jewish children and teens in need, begins this month. This year, the first night of Hanukkah is December 22, and JFS expects to serve more than 70 local children and teens. For donors, this is an opportunity to do a mitzvah for children whose families are financially struggling.

How to help

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

Hanukkah donations must be received by December 2, 2019. Make checks payable to JFS and send to Jewish Family Service, ATTN: Maryann Kettyle, 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 400, Virginia Beach, VA 23462.

Jewish Family Service assists local Jewish families in need all year and will keep any surplus donations for use throughout 2019-2020. For more information, contact Maryann Kettyle, at JFS at 757-459-4640 or MKettyle@jfshamptonroads.org.