Thanks to generous donors, Jewish Family Service helped 120 families during Hanukkah

by | Jan 30, 2017 | Other News

Now in its 24th year, Jewish Family Service of Tidewater’s Chanukah Gift Program annually helps local Jewish families in financial need with gifts and gift cards for their children and teens, and with money for those without children. This year, JFS received donations from individuals, families, groups, companies, organizations, congregations, and schools. Boxes were filled with new clothing, winter coats, boots, shoes, books, games, toys, bicycles, school supplies, and Hanukkah wrapping paper/decorations.

Many of the families who seek help are active members of the local community who attend schools and temple with everyone else. Although gifts are collected during the holiday, many gifts are used all year.

Maryann Kettyle, JFS special needs case manager, says, “We request gifts that are needed by our families like school supplies, clothing, shoes, underwear, and winter coats. Our families need these items all year long, not just during the holiday. We also ask for gifts of fun items like toys, games, and books, so that children and teens can have things for playtime. Our most challenging age groups to find gifts for are pre-teens and teens. For these families, we ask for gift cards so that the families can shop for themselves and pick out exactly what they want to have. We are able to give out so many wonderful gifts because of the generosity of so many donors.”

The students, parents, and teachers from Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center and Hebrew Academy of Tidewater comprise one of the largest annual groups of donors. JFS received several hundred gifts of toys and clothing from them this year. Gifts, gift cards, and/or cash donations also came from many area religious schools, temples, and congregations.

This year, a total of 120 different families, consisting of 273 people, benefited from the program. Throughout 2017, these same families will continue to benefit from the donations given at Hanukkah time as JFS provides gift cards towards medication, food, gas, clothing, and school supplies.

Help JFS help local Jewish families in need year-round:

• Donate food, gas, and grocery store gift cards, or cash
• Support JFS special needs group activities
• Donate: grocery bags; toiletries, cosmetics, bath and body products; Judaic/Jewish items; school supplies; baby supplies; paper goods; and cleaning/household supplies
• Purchase Baskets of Hope centerpieces
• Volunteer

All donations to JFS are tax deductible.

For more information about any of these programs, contact Maryann Kettyle, special needs case manager, Jewish Family Service of Tidewater at 757-459-4640 or

A complete list of donors can be found on the JFS website: If someone was inadvertently left off of this list, JFS says “thank you” and apologizes.