Jewish Family Service of Tidewater’s holiday outreach takes many forms

January 22, 2016

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Each year during the holidays, Jewish Family Service of Tidewater reaches out to those in the community who need a little help. Whether it is meals, gift baskets, hand-knitted items, or bags of goodies, the gifts serve as a reminder to the recipients that they are thought of and loved.

During Hanukkah, JFS distributed 85 bags filled with gelt and freshly baked Hanukkah cookies to Jewish adults living in local non-Jewish nursing homes. The bags and cookies were made and beautifully decorated by the Ohef Sholom Temple Religious School.

For the annual Helping Hearts project, JFS had the help of two special young volunteers, eight-year-old Meghan and 10-year-old Matthew Helman. This past fall, they organized a drive and collected enough candy canes, socks, and snacks to help JFS fill 1,000 bags, which were delivered to six area nursing homes in December. The Helman children, along with members of Beach Ambassadors and JFS staff, also helped stuff the bags to distribute. Members of the JFS Knitting for Others group lovingly made hundreds of scarves, hats, and blankets for the JFS Helping Hearts project, as well as those that were distributed to JFS clients.

This past year JFS also gave something new to a few clients: handmade quilts. Thanks to the Ohef Sholom Quilting for Tzedakah group, JFS received four beautiful and unique quilts. The group was the brainchild of Marsha Moody and includes beginner and experienced quilters who work side by side to create their masterpieces. Each quilt is carefully sewn to create a colorful patchwork of fabrics. The group’s goal is to share the gift of warmth and comfort during the holidays and throughout the year. Members of the group include Marsha Moody, Susan Scholson, Paula Russel, Celia Friedman, Jeanette Friedman, Dalia Hermes, Gabriele Jiannas, Marilynn Mendelson, Margaret Sawyer, Nichole Kushner, Ruth Schepper, and Dorianne Villani.

One quilt recipient was a young mother and her daughter who are JFS clients. The mother says, “We adore the colors, detail, and love that went into making the quilt! Most of all, we can see all the hard work, time, energy, skills, and dedication everyone put into this beautiful quilt. When we use the quilt we will feel blessed. We’ll recall all the time, love, and energy everyone spent to make us feel special, loved and cared for. Handmade gifts are incredible!” The daughter made a handmade card that said, “Thank you Tzedakah Quilt Group for this beautiful quilt! It is going to keep our family warm. I love all the pretty colors! Chag Sameach! Yours truly, a happy girl.”

JFS thanks everyone who donated their time, talents, and money to help with these very worthy projects.

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