29 years of helping local Jewish children and teens

October 21, 2021

Other News

Jewish Family Service received this thank you note from an 11-year-old girl after Hanukkah last year:

Dear JFS Helpers: Thank you for including me in the Chanukah gift drive. I live with my grandma and she and I have to watch how we spend money. My grandma surprised me with many, many gift cards (from JFS). We used the $50 Amazon card for camping equipment for summer camp. We bought sheets, towels, and pillows so that I would have all new things to bring. We used the $50 Target card so I would have new summer clothes and sandals. My grandma and I want to say thank you to everyone that helped us.

Hanukkah arrives very early this year on November 28, during the weekend of Thanksgiving. Now in its 29th year, Jewish Family Services’ annual Chanukah Gift Program will begin collecting gift cards and cash donations this month.

The response last year was incredible from donors. Family recipients loved being able to order exactly what they needed and wanted for their children and teens. This program provides holiday gifts to local Jewish children and teens in financially struggling families. JFS will not ask donors to go shopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, JFS again requests either gift cards or cash donations. The families in need can then order their gifts online and have them delivered directly to their homes. Many gifts are used by these families during Hanukkah and throughout the year.

For donors, this is an opportunity to do a mitzvah for children who have no choice in their families’ financial situation. For young donors, this is an opportunity to learn and practice tzedakah, giving to others.

How to Help


Purchase gift cards for specific children and teens in need. Donors may call JFS at 757-459-4640 for a child’s gift card wish list starting October 25, 2021.


Send JFS gift cards from local stores or Amazon or Visa so that families may order gifts for their children on-line.


Send JFS a tax-deductible cash donation and JFS will order gift cards for the families.

Hanukkah donations must be received by November 8, 2021. Make checks payable to JFS and send to Jewish Family Service, ATTN: Maryann Kettyle, 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 400, Virginia Beach, VA 23462.

Jewish Family Service assists local Jewish families in need all year and will keep any surplus donations for use throughout 2021-2022. For more information, contact Maryann Kettyle, at JFS at 757-459-4640 or MKettyle@jfshamptonroads.org.

-Debbie Mayer
Letter to the Editor