JF&CS News Fall 2014

Rimma ZelfandIn today's technologically advanced world, our lives have been made easier and better in so many ways. We have cars that navigate from point A to point B with just the push of a button. Our phone "apps" can direct us from here to there by bus, by train, or by plane. But how do we get a hungry family from crisis to stability? A frail elder from isolation to community? An overwhelmed new mother from despair to hope? Where are the "apps" for those situations?

For 150 years, JF&CS has been a leader in improving people's lives by bringing them "from" to "to."

Although our technologies and techniques have changed over that time, our mission remains the same. Our goal, of course, is always to help more people. But we also want to change lives more profoundly, transforming not only the lives of people in need, but also the lives of their children. By helping people now, we are giving future generations a chance, "from" today "to" tomorrow.

What makes JF&CS unique is that we don't just stop at giving food or funds to people in need. We come up with a plan of action that emphasizes self-sufficiency and empowerment. A hungry family will be just as hungry next month if we don't address the bigger issues in their lives. Our case managers ask,"Why is this family hungry? Are they eligible for public benefits or emergency rent payments through our Center for Family Assistance? Is there spousal abuse in the home which could be addressed by our Journey to Safety program? Do they need nutritional help and education through our Family Table food pantry?" We believe that everything is interconnected.

At JF&CS, we don't give "handouts" but rather we give "hand-ups," bringing the vulnerable to a place of greater self-reliance. For example, we help adults with disabilities live empowered lives in supported residential living programs where they can thrive, work, and become more independent. And – through our Lauren & Mark Rubin Visiting Moms® program – we promote the healthy development of families through support and assistance to new mothers.

Of course it makes me happy to help people, but it makes me infinitely happier to give people the tools they need to help themselves. For 150 years, we have helped people overcome challenges and build their own safety nets, bringing them from darkness to light.

In honor of our 150th anniversary, JF&CS published a special 150th anniversary newsletter. View a PDF of the entire newsletter online.