Posted by Tali Cook

A Massachusetts grandmother has recently obtained custody of her granddaughter, Sarah. She and her husband barely make ends meet themselves and had no money to purchase a Chanukkah gift for Sarah. After receiving the gift card from the JF&CS Center for Family Assistance (CFA) toy drive, the grandmother called Marissa DAleo, CFA case manager, and reported that Sarah was so thrilled she was dancing around the room with her arms in the air. "This brings us so much joy; now she will be able to celebrate her first Chanukkah with me."

This year the toy drive served 360 children, 60 more than last year. It is the second year we have provided gift cards rather than actual toys, which empowers our clients by allowing them to make their own gift choices. The drive for donations started slowly this year because Chanukkah followed Thanksgiving so closely. In the end there were actually more donors this year than last. The result is pure joy.

Some of the gift cards were delivered to recipient families in lovely dreidels (pictured above), which were hand-made by students at the Temple Emanuel Nursery School.

Below is a thank you note I received.

Please accept my grateful and sincere thank you for the gift cards you sent me. I cannot even put into words, how much these are appreciated. As you are aware, I have had some tragedy in my life...

There has been no money for any type of gifts, again, this year, and all money that I am able to get goes directly to bills and oil. Although this is understood and my children are well aware of my struggles, these gift cards will enable me to buy them a little something special.

I am truly blessed to have found you, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tali Cook is the director of the Center for Family Assistance. Born and raised in Israel, she has a BSW from Tel Aviv University and a master's degree in law from Bar Ilan University. In Israel, Tali worked with clients with mental and physical disabilities through vocational treatment.