JFCS Earns a 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator

Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County is proud to announce that we have received Charity Navigator’s top rating of 4 stars.

Charity Navigator is an online rating system that donors can use to intelligently decide where their money is best directed. The 4-Star rating means that JFCS has passed a stringent vetting and has come out fulfilling all of the necessary requirements for the award.

A 4-star rating from Charity Navigator proves that JFCS is an exceptional charity and that we exceed industry standards and outperform most charities in our category.

Of note, The New York Times quoted Sandra Miniutti, a spokeswoman for Charity Navigator, as saying “Generally, a good benchmark for a worthwhile charity is having at least 75 percent of income spent on programs, or the nonprofit’s mission.” You will be happy to know that JFCS spends 89.6% of every donated dollar on programs and services for the local, Mercer County community.

We thank our loyal donors and hope future donors will take this information and choose JFCS as their charity of choice.

Have you considered Planned Giving?

We know that Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County is important to you and we are grateful that you have supported the agency, maybe for many years or maybe just a few. We also know that there will continue to be vulnerable members of the Greater Mercer County community. They are young families struggling to make ends meet and need the Healthy Food Pantry and case management services; older adults longing for social connections so they participate in our Kosher Cafés; and finally, individuals dealing with depression or trauma who need mental health counseling

You want to make certain that JFCS continues to have the financial resources to take proper care of your neighbors and community for the long-term. But how can you guarantee this will happen?

Planned Giving is a charitable vehicle that many non-profit organizations offer. Through Planned Giving, you guarantee that the values you cherish will continue at JFCS.

What a wonderful legacy you can create!

March 2017 is Life & Legacy Month here at JFCS. JFCS has been an active partner since 2013 in the community-wide Life & Legacy program that educates donors on the ease of Planned Giving. The program is developing a culture of Planned Giving in the Jewish community in Greater Mercer County.

We invite you to join with JFCS’ other Life & Legacy donors and safeguard our future. There are a variety of financial options that will suit your interests and needs, as explained in the Life & Legacy brochure. Just sign a Promise Card today, stating your intentions, and you can finalize the gift at a later date. JFCS offers special recognition and benefits to our Life & Legacy donors.

Will you be our next member?

For more information about the program, please view our website at http://www.jfcsonline.org/life-legacy/.

Life & Legacy is a partnership program with The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Mercer, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and local Jewish nonprofit organizations, including Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County.

This is Hunger – An Interactive Experience on Wheels.

This Is Hunger Comes to Our Community!

The faces of hunger in America are both familiar and hidden from view, yet they are all too real and far too many.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County is proud to host This Is Hunger, an interactive experience on wheels (literally, it’s a big rig!) brought to us by MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

The 53-foot-long double expandable trailer is parked and open on both sides and provides almost 1,000 square feet of interior space to take participants on a voyage of awareness and activism: to help them understand the stark reality of hunger in America and to spark their commitment to taking action that will help end hunger once and for all.

Inside the truck, the experience is divided into two parts. First, participants are invited to sit at a communal table and virtually “meet” real people struggling with hunger. Portraits are projected at each end of the table, one by one, as individuals share their stories in their own voices and in their own words. At the end of part one, participants are invited to engage in activities that deepen their awareness about the complexities of being hungry and join MAZON in educating the rest of our nation and advocating for change.

This Is Hunger is open to the community and will be at located at Adath Israel Congregation, 1958 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648 from Tuesday, March 21 until Thursday, March 23. There are tours open to the entire community. To see when the truck is open and reserve your free tickets, visit thisishunger.org and click on Find Tickets. For questions, please contact: Lisa Adler, Coordinator of Community Engagement & Volunteers at JFCS at LisaA@jfcsonline.org or 609-987-8100 X113. We look forward to seeing you in the truck!

November is National Caregivers Month and JFCS Has Answers!

November is National Family Caregivers Month. But for those of you who are caregivers, you know that EVERY DAY is a family caregiver day. Whether or not you live with your loved one, your responsibility for their care is 24/7, filling your heart, mind and time.

Caregiving can be a very isolating existence. You are so busy taking care of your loved one that you may not have time for yourself—to address your own health needs; to have some “down” time for relaxation, hobbies (hobby—what’s a hobby?) or visits with other family and friends; to talk about the difficulties that you encounter and the normal frustrations that you feel. But the stark reality is that, if you do not take care of yourself, you may not be around to care for your loved one!

Support groups can provide a critical shoulder to caregivers, diminishing the isolation and allowing the caregiver to know that he/she is not alone. At JFCS, we have extensive experience with caregiver support and facilitate a wide number of support groups throughout the year.

Many of our participants attest to the value they experience in being together as a group member:

“I am not alone, other people feel the same things I do. I actually have a lot to contribute.”

“Most helpful has been simply sharing stories, worries, concerns, laughter with each other. The caring community itself is a stress reducer.”


“One doesn’t have to go through ‘trauma’ alone.”

“We identified with each other and really came to care for each other.”

I learned to “honor my feelings.”

“Honesty, directions, aid in resources…people, caring, support.”


We also understand how difficult it can be for caregivers to leave their homes and loved ones to attend a group. JFCS is excited to announce the launching of a new program to create an online video support group, employing 21st century technology to address the time-old need for connection, support and validation. All you need is a laptop with video capability and you can interact with a group on your screen in your own home with complete confidentiality and privacy.

If you are interested in the online video group or any of our other support group programs, please contact Beverly Rubman at beverlyr@jfcsonline.org or call 609-987-8100.

JFCS pledges to be #stigmafree

talkinghandsToday concludes Mental Illness Awareness Week. At Jewish Family & Children’s Service, we want to carry this critical awareness beyond one week. JFCS fosters a safe, welcoming environment free of judgments not just for our counseling patients but for all those who interact with our agency including staff, volunteers and community members.

In the spirit of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) campaign, Pledge to be StigmaFree, JFCS challenges our supporters to become stigma free with us by following the steps:

1. Educate Yourself and Others
Through simple education you will develop a deeper understanding of what causes mental illness and what does not, helping you take the first step in rejecting stereotypes. Mental illness is often dramatized in the media yet in reality conditions can present through subtle symptoms and changes. Understanding mental illness can help you recognize the symptoms, identify a name for challenges that may be facing you, a loved one, a co-worker, or a stranger, and seek critical treatment.

2. See the Person and Not the Illness
It can be all too easy to see a number instead of a person behind statistics on mental illness. One in five Americans lives with a mental illness and each and every ONE is an individual with a personal story.

3. Take Action on Mental Health Issues
Join forces with the agencies across the country pushing for better legislation and policies to support those facing mental illness. The more we learn as a population about mental health, the more we all benefit.

JFCS challenges you to take the #stigmafree pledge with us and continue spreading the important messaging on Mental Illness Awareness.

Learn more about the StigmaFree Pledge and access information regarding mental illness conditions at: http://www.nami.org.

September is Suicide Prevention Month – and JFCS is always looking out for your wellbeing!


September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month, the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County would like to provide suicide warning signs, and resources to help those in need of Mental Health assistance. The goal is to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services.

NAMI reports suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people and is often the result of mental health conditions that effect people when they are most vulnerable. Suicidal thoughts and suicide occur too frequently but should not be considered common and can indicate more serious issues. In many cases the individuals, friends, and families affected by suicide are left in the dark, feeling shame or stigma that prevents talking openly about issues dealing with suicide.

World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10, 2016 and these three words are at the heart of suicide prevention and officially the theme for 2016, ‘Connect, Communicate, and Care’.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention states fostering connections with those who have lost a loved one to suicide or have been suicidal themselves is crucial to furthering suicide prevention efforts. Social connectedness reduced the risk of suicide, so being there for someone who has become disconnected can be a life-saving act. Connecting them with formal and informal supports may also help to prevent suicide. Open communication is vital if we are to combat suicide. We need to discuss suicide as we would any other public health issue if we are to dispel myths about it and reduce the stigma surrounding it. All the connecting and communicating in the world will have no effect without the final ingredient – care.

The American Association of Suicidology provides a list of suicide warning signs, and easy to remember mnemonic: IS PATH WARM?

I – Ideation (Talking or threatening to hurt or kill self or seeking access to firearms, available pills)

S- Substance Abuse (Increased substance use including alcohol or drugs)

P- Purposelessness (No reason for living, no sense of purpose in life)

A – Anxiety (Agitation, Anxiety, unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time)

T – Trapped (Feeling trapped, like there is no way out)

H – Hopelessness (Believing it will never get better)

W- Withdrawal (Withdrawing from friends, family, and society)

A – Anger (Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge)

R – Recklessness (Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking)

M – Mood Changes (Dramatic mood changes)

If these signs are observed, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Capital Health Systems Crisis Hotline 609-396-HELP (4357) or 609-989-7297. If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues, JFCS is here to help. Please contact us to schedule a counseling appointment if your symptoms are difficult to manage and interfering with your life. You can call us at 609-987-8100.






You Don’t Have to be an Olympian to be a Champion for JFCS!

The 2016 Mercer County Turkey Trot registration is on it’s way and Jewish Family & Children’s Service wants you to be on our team!

Details: Thursday, November 24,2016 mcttlogo4a
Race Kick Off: 8:30 AM
Where: Mercer County Park in West Windsor, NJ


For the first time, the Mercer County Turkey Trot will have teams, so family, friends and co-workers can sign-up together, fundraise for worthy cause (LIKE JFCS!) and have a morning full of fun! Click here to sign up for the 5K Run or the 1 mile Walk – there is something for everyone!

Don’t want to run or walk? How about volunteering for the morning? Volunteers help make this event run smoothly and on-time! Contact Lisa Adler if you would like to help out before, during or after the event — there is lots of work that needs to be done!

Having too many people over for dinner and just not able to make the race? You can still donate to JFCS and make an impact on our Food Pantry. Click here to make monetary donation or when you are shopping for your feast, remember the JFCS Food Pantry by picking up some Kosher canned goods – or even paper products – and dropping them off.

If you have any questions, please call our offices at 609-987-8100! Hope to see you at the race!

SCREENAGERS: Growing up in the Digital Age — a documentary and JFCS-led discussion you won’t want to miss!

SCREENAGERS_TWITTERWe are thrilled to present SCREENAGERS: Growing Up in the Digital Age, a documentary about the biggest parenting issue of our time.

Thursday, October 27, 2016, 6:30 PM
Chapin School, 4101 Princeton Pike, Princeton, NJ  08540
Tickets: $10/Adult, Kids 10+ free. Click here to register online!

Are you watching kids scroll through life, with their rapid-fire thumbs and a six-second attention span?  Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston saw that happening with her own kids and began a quest to uncover how it might impact their development. As with her other two award-winning documentaries on mental health, Ruston takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through poignant, and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists, SCREENAGERS reveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and also offers solutions on how adults can empower their kids to best navigate the digital world to find balance.

As seen on Good Morning America

Watch the Movie Trailer



Why Community Service is important for Teens and how JFCS is responding…

DSCN5505By engaging in volunteer work, teens have an opportunity to learn experientially. They discover where their passions lie while undertaking “feel good” projects that truly make a difference. These experiences allow them to make more informed choices about college and career options as well as instilling a lifelong interest in giving back.



 The Personal Benefits of Teen Volunteering:

  • Develops an increased sense of social responsibility—a global view of society and a heart for “giving back” and helping others.
  • Exposes teens to diversity
  • Provides an opportunity to apply academic learning to real human needs.
  • Builds relationships and “social connectedness” with peers, adults, and activists sharing a cause.
  • Improves communication and critical thinking skills.
  • Helps students find their passions and interests that may lead to a career choice they may have not considered.

For full posting, see the original blog at https://www.teenlife.com/blogs/why-community-service-work-beneficial-teenagers

Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County is launching the Teen Mitzvah Brigade for all teens 6th to 12th Grade. Come to one, two or all the programs. Great for B’nai Mitzvah Projects or Community Service hours!

For more information or to RSVP contact Lisa Adler at LisaA@jfcsonline.org or 609-987-8100 X113

Mark your calendars for:

Back-to-school backpack stuffing
Prepare back-to-school kits for JFCS clients
Wednbackpack iconesday, August 17, 2016
5:00—6:30 PM
Jewish Family & Children’s Service
707 Alexander Road, Suite 204, Princeton


Mini Mitzvah Day
Assemble snacks, meal kits & soup kitchen supplies
bowl of soup iconThursday, November 10, 2016 (Teacher’s Convention)
10:00 AM—12:00 PM
Jewish Family & Children’s Service
707 Alexander Road, Suite 102, Princeton


Chanukah Family Mitzvah Project
Scavenger hunt & pantry restock
menorah icon
Wednesday, December 22, 2016
6:00—8:00 PM
ShopRite, 3373 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville
Jewish Family & Children’s Service
707 Alexander Road, Suite 204, Princeton

J-Serve Princeton
International Day of Jewish Youth Service
star of david icon
Sunday, April 2, 2017
2:00—4:00 PM
Adath Israel Congregation & Beth El Synagogue

Food For Thought… A word from the JFCS Food Pantry

blueberry heart

Wishing you a “berry” happy summer!

Summer is in full swing and it’s easy to eat the rainbow with all of the local NJ produce available this time of year.

Dr. Michael Greger, who organizes the health blog on NutritionFacts.org and conducts health and nutrition research counts berries of all kinds as part of what he calls “the daily dozen” (a list of 12 things we should try to eat every day).

He recommends at least 1 serving per day, which is 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen berries or 1/4 cup of dried berries.

Both of the recipes for this month will help you meet your berry intake goals and are low in added sugars as well. Hope you find July’s recipes and nutrition information to be BERRY delicious and informative.

What are some of your favorite things to do with NJ berries?

July is National Blueberry Month!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture named July as National Blueberry Month! If any fruit deserves its own month of honorable recognition, the little blue beauty certainly does. Read on to learn about the blueberry and its benefits:

*Blueberries are native to the US and are grown in 35 out of 50 states, supplying roughly 95% of the entire world’s crop.

*Flavors range from puckery tart to mildly sweet, and are in full seasonal swing somewhere from April through October, but July is prime blueberry season, especially in NJ.

*Blueberries can also be enjoyed frozen or dried at other times of the year.

*Experts often include blueberries in their Top 10 Lists of the healthiest foods, since, like many fruits, they are rich in fiber (4 grams per cup), low in calories (85 calories per cup) and boast Vitamin C and other important antioxidants.

*Blueberries get their deep purple-blue color from anthocyanin pigments that have long been thought to have health benefits including reducing inflammation.

*When shopping, look for firm blueberries with even coloring.

*Once you get them home, don’t wash them until ready to eat or use in a recipe. Try to eat them within three to five days.

*If you’ve got extra on hand, freeze them in an air-tight plastic bag for later use.

*Blueberries are perfect for topping hot or cold breakfast cereal and adding to pancakes. But there are other great ways to use them, besides making a pie. Try tossing a handful on your green salad or stirring them into a whole grain pilaf. Mix some into vanilla Greek yogurt for a great snack.

What’s Cooking in Gale’s Kitchen?                                             Fresh, Healthy, Simple and Delicious ways to enjoy fruit from Gale Cohen, RD, CDE

Blueberry Nectarine Granola Crisp (makes 8 servings)blueberry granola


Fruit Filling

5 cups blueberries
2 large nectarines, peeled, chopped
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour (can substitute whole wheat flour)
zest of 1 lemon

 Granola Topping

1 1/2 cups regular oats
2 tbsp chopped pecans
2 tbsp chopped almonds
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Combine the blueberries, nectarines, brown sugar, flour, and lemon zest in a medium bowl;
    toss to coat.
    3. Spoon fruit mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish.
    4. For the topping, combine all ingredients and toss to evenly coat oat mixture and nuts with syrup.
    5. Sprinkle granola over the blueberry nectarine mixture.
    6. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt, ice cream, or whipped topping.

Per serving: 241 calories, 41 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat),  5 g fiber,  Calories from fat: 28%.

blueberry pizza

Watermelon Pizza

Make an attractive and healthy dessert or snack with watermelon, yogurt, and whatever fruits and berries you have on hand!


Pizza “crust”
Seedless watermelon

Pizza “sauce”
Vanilla or plain yogurt (dairy or non-dairy almond, soy, or coconut)


(Choose from below!)

Blueberries, sliced strawberries, blackberries, bananas, coconut flakes, chopped walnuts or pecans, fresh mint


  1. Slice the watermelon in half. Then slice it into 2 inch thick round slices.
  2. Slice watermelon round into 6 pizza slices.
  3. Spread yogurt on the pink parts of the slices for your pizza sauce.
  4. Top it with any or all of the above fruit and nut toppings.