COVID – 19 UPDATES

Find agency updates, helpful blogs & articles, and other resources HERE

Tips, Resources & Support for Holiday Season During COVID-19

This time of year is usually full of eager anticipation, cheerful gatherings, acts of kindness and charitable giving. Like so many aspects of life, this year the holiday season will look different than ones that came before. While we will all have to continue to be creative in how and where we gather with family and friends, observe holiday traditions, and participate in the season, we can still make this year meaningful and special.

Coping with Separation & Loss During Celebrations

Do you or your families need a refresher on Zoom? Don’t let anyone feel left out of the virtual celebration, share our step by step Zoom Guide.

Consider a drive-by potluck dinner. If you can’t bring yourself to reduce the recipe of your favorite holiday dish, coordinate with loved ones who may be within driving distance and organize a drop-off potluck. Make the full holiday serving size, divvy up into individual portions, and make a no-contact delivery to loved ones who are close by. OR, if you are far apart from loved ones, especially elderly family members, consider ordering them a prepared meal to be delivered.

Find more tips like this in…

Remember, this year, safety is most important to ensure future holidays celebrations can be shared together in person. Review the CDC Guidelines and Recommendations for Thanksgiving & upcoming holidays.

If you are a caregiver, this holiday can be extra difficult managing the stress of your role in the midst of the pandemic, and without the extra family support during this season. We are here for caregivers.

If you have experienced loss this year, this difficult and distanced holiday time can feel especially challenging to navigate.

  • For those of the Jewish faith, join us on December 9 for a special program “Light in the Midst of Darkness: Chanukah in the time of COVID for the Bereaved” Register in advance (fee $10)

Additional resources for the bereaved:

Time for Traditions

Practice gratitude. Here are a number of resources for nurturing gratitude for Thanksgiving and beyond.

Find comfort in the familiar of tradition. Put out the special tableware, the traditional recipes, and find religious services streaming online.

Embrace the nostalgia of the hand-written card. When we are all missing family and friends more than ever, a hand-written (or even hand-made if you want to avoid the stores) card can mean so much to the recipient.

Dress up! Even if you are hosting a smaller gathering than usual, or celebrating solo, dress up in your formal holiday attire. Wearing your holiday best can bring about the celebratory spirit!

Missing out on the cookie baking marathon with your loved ones? Set up a video call and bake “together.” This can be a special opportunity to record your family members passing down beloved family recipes which can be cherished for generations.

Find more tips like this in…

Community Event: Interfaith Thanksgiving Service dedicated in memory of Rabbi Feldman

Thurs, November 26 @ 11:00 AM

Join for a special interfaith service for the holiday. STREAM LIVE

Make this time Special with Service

This has been a challenging year for many – job loss, food insecurity, seniors feeling especially isolated. In this season of giving, find ways to make a difference in your community…

Participate or lead a Thanksgiving/Holiday Food Drive. Check with local pantries if they are collecting specific items for the upcoming holidays or if they are in need of pantry staples.

Want to get out into the community? Food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens continue to see rising demand. Reach out to organizations in your area and inquire about volunteer opportunities. Many organizations are relying on volunteers to facilitate large-scale grab and go meal distributions.

  • Help at JFCS! We welcome volunteers to help pack prepared bags of food for our on-site and mobile food pantries. Contact us: BethE@jfcsonline.org / 609-987-8100 Ext 126.

Share a smile with a senior. The restrictions of current quarantine orders dramatically impact older adults. Consider making holiday cards to be shared with isolated seniors. Reach out to local senior care facilities or organizations to inquire about how to best distribute holiday greeting cards to their residents/clients.

  • JFCS is collecting cards for our senior clients which will be distributed to those who receive delivered meals and food. Contact Eden Aaronson to learn more: EdenA@jfcsonline.org / 609-987-8100 Ext 113.

Make a donation. Find an organization close to your heart and make a gift that is meaningful to you to support them. Share with family and friends why this cause is important and encourage them to do the same.

  • You can help make the holidays special for JFCS clients by donating gift cards to our L.I.G.H.T.S (Love is Getting Holidays Gifts to Share) program. Learn more here.
  • By making a general monetary donation to JFCS, you are enabled us to continue our vital support to the community through our food pantries, senior support and mental health care. Make a donation today.
Embrace the Opportunity for NEW Traditions

Never had time to make a Turkey Trot before now? Most charity walks/races have gone virtual and can be completed from anywhere! Make a team with family and friends no matter how distanced you are, and embrace the chance to create a new tradition with them.

  • You can participate in the Mercer County Turkey Trot Nov 21 – 28! Proceeds help support Mercer County food pantries including JFCS. Sign up today!

Create a Secret “Snowflake” gift exchange through the magic of Amazon Prime (or any online store). Organize a gift exchange through a broad network using social media or keep it to a close-knit group with whom you may not be able to gather in person with this year.

Seek out virtual holiday concert or performances, coordinate virtual “watch parties” of your favorite holiday movies with your loved ones, enjoy outdoor, socially distanced opportunities like drive-through or walk-through light displays, and explore local opportunities like Palmer Square holiday weekends or Morven Museum & Garden Festival of Trees.

This Thanksgiving, enjoy an Interfaith Service, dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Adam Feldman. Stream the program liveThursday, November 26 at 11 AM.

Festive Foods

Our registered dietitan has shared tips and recipes for budget-friendly and time-conscious Thanksgiving dishes.

Check out additional family friendly recipes:

Games & Crafts

Get crafty and creative this holiday season with these activities fun for all ages!

Do What Works Best for YOU and Your Mental Health

It has been said that during the pandemic, sometimes it takes more effort to accomplish less. The emotional and mental toll of the past months may leave many feeling exceptionally fatigued by the holidays before they have even arrived.

If you need to keep things simple to protect your mental health, then take the time for self-care. If you’re feeling over-Zoomed before weeks of virtual holiday drinks, be honest with your family and friends and let them know you cannot join all of the engagements.

Find information & tips in our blogs:

And, if you need to talk to someone, reach out to JFCS

  • During our Drop-in Hours (Mon, Wed, Fri 10 AM – 12 PM or Tues, Thurs 5 – 7 PM) call 609-987-8100 Dial 0
  • Connect with our intake coordinator for ongoing counseling at 609-987-8100 Ext 102

August 21 is Senior Citizen’s Day! Celebrating Seniors

August 21 is Senior Citizen’s Day, recognized across the country as a day to celebrate our seniors. JFCS celebrates and supports older adults here in our Mercer community all year round – the retirees who serve as dedicated volunteers, the Holocaust Survivors who are staying connected through technology, the older adults who join in our weekly group to help each other through this difficult time, the seniors across the community who are aging independently in their homes.

In honor of Senior Citizen’s Day, we are sharing resources, information and groups tailored for our senior community.

Connecting with your elderly loved ones…

Looking for Senior Resources?

Support for Seniors

  • Join our weekly Social Support Group, designed for older adults to connect during a time of social distancing and isolation. Register to join weekly.
  • For Jewish seniors, the upcoming holidays may be a lonely time, and we’re offering special programs to address some of the emotional challenges you may face during this time.
  • Are you a Caregiver? If you are caring for a spouse with chronic illness, join our upcoming Caregiver Support Group beginning Sept 15. Click to learn more & register.

JFCS Mobile Food Pantry Delivers to Seniors, Children & Families – Reaches Almost 350 Individuals in First Month

Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County [JFCS] has been out on the road for a full month and served its first clients through the JFCS Mobile Food Pantry.

The JFCS Mobile Food Pantry brings the experience of a food pantry directly to individuals who experience significant obstacles accessing existing resources located in Mercer County whether it is due to a lack of transportation options, physical mobility limitations or language barriers to existing services.

On February 11, the Mobile Food Pantry visited Holy Apostles Episcopal Church in Yardville, NJ. That evening the church served a free, hot dinner prepared by the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK). As the guests arrived, they were greeted by JFCS staff and volunteers helping to explain the Mobile Food Pantry.

Staff and volunteers provided checklist sheets to the dinner attendees who were able to select their preferences within food categories – dairy, fruit, vegetables, protein and grains – and quantity of each product based on their household size. Wegman’s of Princeton generously provided 1,000 reusable bags for JFCS Mobile Food Pantry patrons. JFCS was able to provide groceries to 25 individuals at Holy Apostles, benefiting over 40 total people based on reported household sizes.

The Mobile Food Pantry made its second stop on February 20 at Better Beginnings Child Development Center in Hightstown, NJ. With the Mobile Food Pantry parked in the Better Beginnings parking lot, a team from JFCS, including staff and a volunteer fluent in Spanish, helped the parents navigate the grocery selection process. In a little over 2 hours, staff and volunteers packed bags of groceries for 57 families – representing over 250 total people served. A majority of those served represented households of 4 or more family members.

“Transportation is often an issue for some of our parents and having the resources here on-site is a huge help to them,” said Luz Horta, Executive Director of Better Beginnings. “We appreciate the consideration JFCS has given to the selection of foods provided, which are nutritional, healthy, and culturally diverse. Our mission is to provide a high-quality affordable early learning childcare program to low-income working families. Through the JFCS Mobile Food Pantry our families now receive the resources for multiple meals, free of charge. Every bit helps them keep food on the table during difficult times.”

 On February 27, the Mobile Food Pantry stopped at Wheaton Pointe, a low-income senior housing facility in East Windsor, NJ. Residents had the opportunity to make selections to their personal tastes from the products on the truck. JFCS was able to provide groceries to almost 50 individuals at the stop.

The Mobile Food Pantry has already received significant recognition for the impact of this initiative.

6ABC Action News (WPVI-TV Philadelphia) was on-site to capture the Mobile Food Pantry in action at Better Beginnings. The JFCS Mobile Food Pantry will be featured in their “NJ Proud” segment airing on Sunday, March 15 during the morning show, 6 – 8 AM.

At the JFCS annual fundraiser, Casino Night, held on March 7, the agency highlighted the Mobile Food Pantry as the Beacon of Hope. The event welcomes almost 400 community members including representatives from founding corporate sponsors of the truck, Bristol Myers-Squibb, Church & Dwight, Lennar, NRG Energy and the Wawa Foundation.

Most recently, the Mobile Food Pantry earned national recognition as the winner of the Network of Jewish Human Service Agency’s 2020 Annual Conference Pillar of Excellence Award in the Innovation category.

For the month of March distribution stops are currently planned for Redding Circle, an affordable housing development in Princeton, NJ and return visits to the first three locations to start their monthly schedule.

Roll the Dice with JFCS! Casino Night is back!

JFCS Casino Night

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Hyatt Regency Princeton, 102 Carnegie Center Princeton NJ 08540

Join us for an exciting evening of casino gaming, derby races with live betting, raffle prizes, hors d’oeuvres and open bar all night!


2020 Honorees:

Helping Hand…Lois Miller

Partner in Healing ….Berkshire Bank

Beacon of Hope … JFCS Mobile Food Pantry


Dietary Laws Observed – Catering Provided by Classical Caterers

Below are the links to sponsor forms:

Click here for individual purchasing options.

Interested in Sponsorship packages? Click here!

Unable to join us? Make a donation in honor of the agency or one of our honorees!

OR download our event form to see all options to support Casino Night.

Sponsors, Donors, Community Leaders and More Gather to Celebrate the Mobile Food Pantry

Almost 100 guests joined JFCS Board and staff members as the agency debuted the Mobile Food Pantry to supporters on January 30.

Those in attendance were able to tour the truck and preview the client experience. Michelle Napell toasted the supporters gathered and thanked all for their cooperative effort in getting the Mobile Food Pantry on the road.

Those in attendance included local leadership – Mayor Janice Mironov of East Windsor and Denise Daniels, East Windsor Council Member; Marygrace Billek, Director of Human Services Mercer County; Louise Rush, Director, New Jersey Division of Aging Services; Peter Crowley, President of Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber; and Jeff Vega, President & CEO Princeton Area Community Foundation.

The Mobile Food Pantry became a reality through the support of corporate and individual founding sponsors who collectively donated over $335,000 towards the purchase, customization and stocking of the Mobile Food Pantry for its first year on the road. Representatives from several of the corporate supporters including Firmenich, NJM Insurance, Lennar Homes, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Church & Dwight, and the Wawa Foundation attended the launch event.

Both corporate and individual sponsors of the Mobile Food Pantry will be invited to volunteer at a distribution stop. The first distribution stops are scheduled in February at locations in Hamilton (Yardville), East Windsor and Hightstown with more being finalized.

               

JFCS hopes to utilize the truck to encourage more corporate volunteer and community engagement opportunities. Businesses can sponsor an individual distribution stop or become a named sponsor with logo placement on the truck for one year. Sponsorships include the option to use the partnership as a team building or employee service day by volunteering at a distribution stop. Supporters who commit at $5,000 or above will have the name and/or logo added to the truck for display. The Mobile Food Pantry also opens JFCS to the opportunity to park at local grocery stores or community partner locations to host a food drive to “stock the truck.”

If you’re interested in sponsorship or volunteering opportunities for the Mobile Food Pantry, contact Helaine Isaacs at HelaineI@jfcsonline.org or 609-987-8100 Ext 104.

                

Our Thanks to Founding Mobile Food Pantry Sponsors:

Ruth and Martin Clayman

Fran & Larry Sucharow Philanthropic Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation

JFCS Women’s Alliance

The Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation

Firmenich

Pat and Ray Schlaefer

Abrams Foundation

B Creative 

Church & Dwight

Kaia, Owen and Avery Janofsky

Mercer County

The Wawa Foundation

The Bank of Princeton

Bristol Myers Squibb 

Bobbi and Barry Freedman

Danielle and Jeremy Perlman Family Fund

Jacqueline and Joel Goldfinger

Richard Goldfinger

Jill and Gregg Jaclin

Lennar Homes 

Nexus Properties

Novo Nordisk

NJM Insurance Group

NRG Energy 

NOSH & KNOWLEDGE: ORGAN DONATION

DATE: Thursday, January 23 at 12:30 p.m.           

LOCATION: Congregation Beth Chaim (329 Village Road East, West Windsor)

DESCRIPTION: Rabbi Brian Beal will explore texts both ancient and modern relating to the Jewish views of organ donation.  A kosher lunch will be provided by Greenwood House and there is a requested donation of $5.00 per person. You may also bring your own kosher-style lunch. 

RSVP: is required by 1/17 to Beth Englezos at bethe@jfcsonline.org.

This program is sponsored by Congregation Beth Chaim, Greenwood House & JFCS.

JFCS & THE BETH EL SENIORS CLUB PRESENT: SELF-DETERMINATION IN OUR GOLDEN YEARS!

DATE: Thursday, January 16 at 1:00 p.m.

LOCATION: Beth El Synagogue (50 Maple Stream Rd., East Windsor)

DESCRIPTION: Are you prepared for the critical decisions down the road? Whether you are working with your aging parents or preparing for your own future, it is critical to understand what documents to have in place. Everyone deserves to have their wishes respected when it comes to healthcare and quality of life in your golden years. Beth Hammer, a geriatric care manager at Jewish Family & Children’s Service, will walk us through what documents are key to ensuring your intentions are communicated with caregivers. 

RSVP is required by 1/10 to Beth Englezos at bethe@jfcsonline.org or call Beth El Synagogue at 609-443-4454. 

This program is sponsored by Beth El Seniors & JFCS.

Nosh & Knowledge: Israel!

Description: Israel…the Modern Nation-State.  Israel…the homeland of the Jewish people.  Israel…the fulfillment of the biblical promise.  Join Anne Berman-Waldorf as she examines the beauty, the complexity and the nuance of our relationships with Israel.

A kosher lunch will be provided by Greenwood House and there is a requested donation of $5.00 per person. You may also bring your own kosher-style lunch. 

Date: Thursday, December 19th at 12:30pm

Location: Congregation Beth Chaim (329 Village Road East, West Windsor)

RSVP is required by 12/13 to Beth Englezos at bethe@jfcsonline.org or 609-987-8100, ext. 126.

This program is sponsored by Congregation Beth Chaim, Greenwood House & JFCS.

JFCS & Beth El Seniors Present: Celebrate Chanukah!

Description: Join special guest Rabbi Jay Kornsgold for a fun pre-Chanukah celebration.  Rabbi Jay will speak about the miracles of Chanukah as well as the debate on whether there should be a menorah on government property during the holiday.  You can take part in a gift exchange by bringing a wrapped gift costing between $6-$10.  We will also enjoy special refreshments for the holiday! 

Date: Thursday, December 12th at 1:00pm

Location: Beth El Synagogue (50 maple Stream Road, East Windsor)

RSVP is required by 12/9 to Beth Englezos at bethe@jfcsonline.org or 609-987-8100, ext. 126 or call Beth El Synagogue at 609-443-4454. 

This program is sponsored by Beth El Seniors & JFCS.