JFCS BRINGS HOLIDAY JOY TO COMMUNITY
More than 300 children and 150 Seniors receive gifts, food, and more through Adopt-a-Family/Adopt-a-Senior program
(SARASOTA, FL – January 1, 2021) – In a year when the need in the community is greater than ever before, JFCS of the Suncoast increased its impact on families and seniors during its 2020 Adopt-a-Family/Adopt-a-Senior program. Donors contributed toys, clothing, shoes, bicycles, books, gift cards, home furnishings, and more to over 300 children and 150 Aging Services clients of JFCS. Donations to date have been valued at more than $60,000.
“It was humbling to see so many generous donors in the community come together to brighten the holidays for more than 300 children,” said JFCS Director of Community Outreach Karen Pharo. “This year has been extra challenging for everyone. It warmed my heart when calling a recipient to let her know we had gifts, clothes, shoes, toys, and gift cards for $300 in groceries. She cried and said it was perfect timing, as she was at a friend’s house grabbing food from their pantry because they did not have any.
“We also had four families in their thirties, with young children, whose spouses passed away suddenly. The community pulled together, and we were able to provide Legoland tickets, music lessons from Music Compound, clothes, shoes, toys, and gift cards.”
Normally, Adopt-a-Family is limited to clients of JFCS. But this year, in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, the organization reached out to area churches, nonprofits, and organizations to accept new families into the program.
JFCS volunteer Larissa Jones and her neighbors in the Mallory Park subdivision adopted 93 children and 42 seniors this year. According to Jones, “We are more than happy to participate in such a wonderful program for our community! Mallory Park is full of very kind people with big hearts. It’s a wonderful place to raise a family and teach our children about the true reason for the season.”
JFCS of the Suncoast began its annual Adopt-a-Family campaign in 2004. Each fall, the agency invites community members to provide presents, clothing and shoes, gift cards and other items for families in need as well as gift bags for seniors served by JFCS.
Toni Watson, who has a large family, was deeply grateful for the tremendous support provided by Adopt-a-Family donors: “This year has been a struggle with the effects of the pandemic. Thank you for taking such good care of me and my six little ones. I was blown away by the generosity. Now my little one does not have to sleep on a bean bag. We have food, restaurant gift cards, clothing, shoes, bikes, beds, and more. We cannot thank you enough. You gave us hope.”
Inspired by the Jewish tradition of helping all people, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of the Suncoast provides counseling, personal support, and financial assistance to youth, adults, families, veterans, seniors and individuals who are homeless in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and Lee Counties. Services are delivered to people in need regardless of their religious background. More information is available at www.jfcs-cares.org.