Feinstein 30,000 Meal Challenge Kick Off
Please help JFS feed families.
"In this economy 30,000 meals means a lifeline for struggling families, single parents, the unemployed and under-employed,” expresses Michael Cooper, development director of JFS. This year, in partnership with the Feinstein Challenge, Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando; 333 square foot pantry would like to make a huge impact in the Central Florida community.
Help is Available in Times of Turmoil
JFS provides counseling.
Mental health and substance abuse are more prevalent than we care to admit in our local communities. Susan Weissmann, LCSW, clinical director at the Center for Counseling, Growth and Development, reminds us that “depression, substance abuse, relationship problems, or more serious brain disorders affect not only the individual, but extends to care-givers, family members and even to a societal level.”
As a result of recent heightened societal interests in mental health as it relates to safety, the Center for Counseling, Growth and Development at Jewish Family Services says it is excited to partner with the Grove Counseling Center to
November to December 2012 Annual Toy Drive
Please help JFS touch the life of families in need.
Get Caught Caring helps families in our local community who are facing financial, health or other challenges during the winter holiday season by providing them with the ability to have gifts for their children and buy food for a holiday meal.
JFS is collecting toys and gift cards to distribute to families in time for the holidays. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy (for a boy or girl) or while shopping, purchase a gift card!
Take Action: Print and share our flier!
Call Us: 407-644-7593
Evening of Valor 2012
In Honor of
Fern and Ivan Lefkowitz and Publix Markets Charities
Join Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando for its 11th annual Evening of Valor banquet fundraiser at the Westin Lake Mary. This year’s theme focuses on the Gift of Giving and will celebrate all those gracious contributors who have provided for the organization’s esteemed counseling services, in-school support groups, emergency services and food pantries.
Enjoy: ~three-course meal ~large-scale silent auction ~ raffles ~the infamous Dining Around Town (purchase tickets for a chance to dine at 13 of Central Florida’s most popular restaurants, $1,300 worth of restaurant gift card, and IPAD raffle worth $650!
Celebrate: Over 300 guests are anticipated to attend!
August 30th 2012 Put Your Passions to Paper
Ready: Join us Thursday for an evening of motivation, dinner and drinks on Thursday from 6pm-8:30pm at Cocina 214.
Set: This women's forum (men welcomed, of course) event will feature Jennifer Lee, motivational speaker; Diane Scimone, author, journalist and founder of Born 2 Fly International; and Cindy Price, a former financial services professional.
Action: Register online, visit bit.ly/Ok0VWi
Hunger Doesn't Take a Summer Break 2012
Save The Date Evening of Valor 2012
October 14, 2012. More information coming soon!
Spring 2012 Fundraiser Recap
Jewish Family Services (JFS) ended its Cantina on a touching note. The event was held in May and 160 supporters crowded best Mexican/Tex Mex restaurant, Cocina 214. Craig Pearlman, an honoree summed the Cantina up in one sentence ...Read More
Seniors Ride Free
John Robert Smith, president and CEO of Reconnecting America and co-chair of Transportation of America asked the question, “What happens when people in the largest generation ever, with the longest predicted lifespan ever, outlive their ability to drive for everything?”
Personal Mini Storage Dropped off 2,200 Pounds of Food
Personal Mini Storage started in 1982 by local entrepreneur brothers Stan and Ron Shader. Employees set a goal to collect 2,000 pounds of food. At JFS, we are proud to state: mission accomplished. Click here to read more...
2011 Newsletter: Family Matters
Have you had the chance to take a look at our 2011 newsletter? Click here to see our 2011 JFS Newsletter "Family Matters".
Kobrin Family Scholarship
In 1990, the Kobrin Family created the Kobrin Family Schoalrship for first-time-in-college freshman from Orange, Osceola and Seminole County public schools. Click below to download an application.
JFS is continuing its feature of highlighting “Goodwill Ambassadors.” This month’s profile focuses on Mike McKee, who believes in the motto, “Men for Others.”
The motto was actually handed down from his all-male high school, Walsh Jesuit, and it stuck with him. Although the school is Christian based, McKee is quick to point out the similarities that exist between Judaism and Christianity. “Both cultures have at its core, the idea of serving mankind. Fortunately I’ve been exposed to both religions throughout my life - I went to a Jewish pre-school, got my first job at the JCC in Ohio, so have never chose to distinguish between the two religions.”
By day, McKee is a successful financial planner. His first venture into the non-profit world began in the summer of 2003. He opened Inspire Charitable Foundation and asked his financial clients to take 10% of his fee for the year and write a check to the Foundation, then deduct it from their bill. He used the foundation as seed money for fundraisers for select charities. Community Care for the Elderly (part of VNA) was one of the first charities he helped. He supplied the start-up cash for their 25th anniversary celebration gala and the event netted the organization more than double the investment.
“I get such a thrill out of performing community service,” he states. “I was holiday shopping with my 9 year-old son and we were discussing how much more fun it is to give than receive. I get such reward from doing a fundraiser for a charity, it’s certainly better than watching TV. I’ve been blessed in my life and when you’ve been blessed, you have a responsibility to give back.”
As of late, the lines have been blurred between McKee’s for-profit and not-for-profit business. Out of a desire to help an under-served population, he began specializing in financial planning for families with special needs children. “Working with this sector is difficult because finances are usually in disarray. The additional expenses incurred with a special needs child can place a huge financial burden on families,” states McKee. He decided to structure his fees on a sliding-scale, because in many cases, families simply did not have the money for fees. In fact, McKee’s first introduction to JFS was to observe how they handled their counseling fees on a sliding-scale basis.
When McKee saw firsthand the breadth of work that JFS performed he was amazed. He had no idea that right in his own backyard there was an agency supporting the entire community, and helping to resolve the backlash of a faltering economy. He states, “People are struggling to stay afloat and make ends meet. Although the media may show that the economy is getting better, mainstreet is not getting better; if anything it may be getting worse. The dollar continues to decline and expenses, such as groceries and health insurance continue to rise. It is a real scary time for the majority of people out there. Unemployment is not declining and we may be looking at the new normal.“
McKee continues, “I think JFS’ Family Stabilization Program is amazing. Helping people to help themselves is an awesome concept. It’s what we need as a society - people empowered to help themselves, rather than relying on handouts from the government. The success rate of the program is quite telling.”
JFS Family Stabilization Program (FSP) is a preventive, solution based 6-month program, which empowers families through educational workshops and counseling programs. Statistics show that upon completion of the FSP program, 80% of participants experience significant increases in self-sufficiency.
McKee has been serving on the JFS Board for more than three years and is an active participant. Over the last two years, he has organized two successful golf tournaments, which helped raise money and awareness for the agency. “I joined the board because I felt that I could make a difference by getting involved with this organization. The majority of money raised goes toward services and I love that its local and serving the immediate community. Rarely do you find a charity that supports the entire community and is an unknown entity. We gave out over 107,000 meals last year, right out of the office on Lee Road (10% from the southwest office was distributed) and If I wasn’t on the board I wouldn’t have even noticed. JFS is a hidden gem within Winter Park and my goal is to help people become more aware of the important work being done by the agency.”
McKee’s background as a financial planner has leant well to his position on the board as JFS’ Treasurer. Additionally, he has earned three certificates at Rollins Philanthropy Center: Philanthropic Fundraising, Volunteer Management, and Non-profit Management. His work with business owners, helping them to grow their business, is what he also hopes to bring to JFS. “I’m very excited about JFS going forward – we have a new Executive Director and many untapped opportunities. The agency has been around for over 30 years and I would like to be able to secure program funding for JFS for the next 25 years.”
On a daily basis, JFS is making positive changes in the lives of individuals, children and families. If there is someone that you feel is making a difference in the community and would like to nominate them as a Goodwill Ambassador, please contact 407-644-7593, ext. 235.
December 2011: JFS Says Thank You For Caring
JFS wrapped up another holiday season with the hugely successful “Get Caught Caring” Campaign. Toy collections from businesses, organizations and individuals throughout the community brought in mountains of toys for children in need. Nearly 700 toys were distributed to families this year. In addition, $7,000 in cash contributions was allocated to providing food for hungry families for their holiday meals.
“We'd like to thank everyone who donated or volunteered their time to make the toy drive a success,” states Es Cohen, JFS Director of Development. “The winter holiday toy drive gives hope and happiness to families in need. Our goal is to satisfy the requests of every family on our list and help them experience the magic of the holidays. For some children, it is the only toy they will see all year.”
JFS would like to give special recognition and thanks to the following agencies and organizations that contributed toward the Get Caught Caring program: Baker Hostetler LLP, Foley & Lardner LLP, the Jewish Academy, the Jewish Community Center, Lowndes Drosdick Doster Kantor & Reed, Or Hadash, Peach Valley Café, Personal Mini Storage, Peterbrooke Chocolatiers, Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell, and local synagogues.
The next opportunity for the community to get involved in a particular “need” drive is the Feinstein Challenge. The Feinstein Challenge, a national canned food drive to help end hunger, commences again this year in March and April. During this time, food banks across the United States campaign to collect food and in return, are “rewarded” with a percentage of $1 million dollars provided by the Feinstein Foundation in Connecticut.
JFS youth volunteers and their parents brought a holiday party to the Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS) on Thursday, December 8th. The visit was part of the annual JFS Kinder-to-Kinder program, which gives youth an opportunity to give back to other children in the spirit of volunteerism. The children decorated cookies, worked on holiday crafts and brought in lunch donated by Brio for the Foster kids at CHS.
This month’s "Goodwill" profile focuses on Dolores Indek, a hero in the community and to JFS.
Indek counts herself very lucky and has immense gratitude for the blessings she has received throughout her life. She comes from a working class family, has never considered herself rich, but was always taught to help others. She recalls, “My grandfather owned a restaurant in Miami that I used to help out at when I was young. One time I saw a family order hot water to their table. What I saw next, I will never forget – they mixed the water with ketchup to make tomato soup. They had no money and couldn’t afford to order off the menu. My grandfather told them to order what they wanted free of charge. He was that kind of man and I owe much of my spirit of giving to his kind actions.”
“I often think of that family when I bring a bag of food to JFS’ pantry,” says Indek. Her volunteer efforts with JFS began after a trip to Israel, along with Es Cohen, JFS’ director of development. Their conversations about the need within the community lit a fire within Indek that compelled her to offer help. She devotes most of her time at JFS helping with fundraisers and serving on committees. “You don’t have to be rich to help someone. Whenever an extra pair of helping hands is needed I am there. Every little bit counts.”
The clincher for Indek in realizing the strength and empowerment that JFS gave others, was when she heard a client’s testimonial at a fundraiser. Latrice was battling diabetes and ovarian cancer, while trying to parent four children on her own. Although the odds were against her, with the support of JFS, Latrice got back on her feet and set and met goals for herself in terms of career and education. “You could hear the renewed sense of confidence in this woman’s voice. There was the sound of hope,” says Indek.
Indek has lived most of her life making a difference in the lives of others not so fortunate. From reading to under-achieving 2nd graders to teaching the economics of staying in school to teens in juvenile detention, she is committed to helping where it matters. Indek is a 40 year veteran with Junior Achievement and was awarded the Jefferson Award for Community Service, a national recognition of volunteerism. Upon retiring from Lockheed Martin, where she worked for 48 years, the corporation named a community service award on her behalf. To date, her proudest achievement was being given the honor of running with the Olympic torch in 1996. She remarks that she was handed the burning torch by none-other-than George Wolly, whose legacy continues to live on at JFS.
“I thank you so much for your offer to deliver a meal. I occasionally go to the market with my scooter, but am not up to a Thanksgiving dinner preparation. I have much to be thankful for during Thanksgiving. I am a holocaust survivor and thank the Almighty for those people who had compassion with an 18 year-old, struggling to get through a very difficult time. I would like to wish JFS a very Happy Holiday.” A note to JFS from meal recipient, Joe Zollman.
JFS created its holiday meal delivery program for people like Joe Zollman that are homebound, lonely, without family locally and unable to cook for themselves.
Marni S. Chepenik, JFS Coordinator of Volunteer Services states, “Thanksgiving is such a family event. But the reality is that there are many older adults in our area who don’t have nearby family. On this day, our compassionate volunteers become their family. Showing up with a warm Thanksgiving dinner and a smile, shows them that someone cares.”
If you are a homebound elder in need of a holiday dinner delivered to your home for Thanksgiving or know someone who is, please contact Marni S. Chepenik at 407-644-7593, ext. 227 or email email@example.com. Delivery will take place on November 23rd and meals are prepared by Chef George at the Kinneret Kosher kitchen; they are truly a holiday feast.
JFS covers the cost of the 60+ meals that are delivered. If you would like to help defray these costs, please consider making a donation of $18 or more toward the meal delivery program. Checks can be mailed to Jewish Family Services, 2100 Lee Road, Winter Park, FL 32789 or credit card information can be taken over the phone.
Additionally, volunteers are always needed to help with our meal delivery program. If you would like to volunteer for this important service provided to the community, please contact Ms. Chepenik.
JFS is continuing its feature of highlighting “Goodwill Ambassadors.” This month’s profile focuses on Madeline Wolly, who has been a JFS board member and volunteer since the mid 80’s. Her decades of dedication have helped JFS increase its reach in the community and shaped it into becoming the social service agency that it is today.
Wolly learned about JFS through friends, Irving and Mimi Bergen, who were serving on the board of directors at the time. The year was 1985 and Madeline and her husband George were interested in using their time and influence to make a difference. “We believed in JFS’ mission in helping and encouraging others so that they are given an opportunity to succeed,” states Wolly.
The Wolly’s joined the board of directors at JFS and immediately dug in. “One of our first endeavors was to expand the food pantry, which was very small at the time. We needed additional space to accommodate both the donations of food and the need within the community. I worked alongside Ann Shader and Bernice Walker Schwartz collecting and stocking the food for the new pantry, as well as helping to distribute groceries to clients in need. It was very gratifying knowing that I was helping feed a family. I couldn’t imagine a child going to bed hungry.”
As the agency grew, additional funding was needed. Wolly recalls, “At first we held “Roasts” at people’s homes to raise money and awareness about the work of JFS. Truthfully, we focused more on name recognition than fundraising because no one knew who we were. We needed to show them what we were doing before we could ask them to help.” The Wolly’s were instrumental in shining a spotlight on how the agency was improving the lives of individuals and families in the communities.
In 2001, JFS needed to expand further and moved to a new larger location on Lee Road in Winter Park. The same year, George Wolly became fatally ill. “I remember George couldn’t walk, but wanted so badly to see the new building that he had helped make a reality for JFS. We took a special trip for him to see it and he was thrilled,” adds Wolly. “ The following week he passed away.” The JFS board announced at the dedication ceremony that the building would be known as The George Wolly Center. Wolly recalls, “It was hard for me to speak, when the announcement was made. I was all choked up. George had put his heart and soul into the agency – I’m sure he was smiling on that day.”
Following George’s death, Madeline became a fixture at JFS. “I spent every day at the agency – it helped take my mind off my sorrow. They were my family and it comforted me to be there.” She was nicknamed Ms. JFS and devoted her time to numerous committees and campaigns. From food drives to fundraisers, she showed up and put up. “In Judaism we are taught to have compassion for those needing help. I’m just doing what is right,” says Wolly. She also devotes her time and energy to Hadassah and has been a long time member of Ohev Shalom.
In 2002, JFS gave another nod to George Wolly and his tremendous contributions by naming the award they present at their gala, the George Wolly Leadership award. Robert Petree was the first recipient of the named award in 2002. This year’s Evening of Valor on October 23rd will mark the 10th anniversary of the George Wolly Leadership award and Madeline Wolly will present it to two families deserving of recognition: The Chapin family and The Mandell family.
Learn more about Evening of Valor here: www.jfsorlando.org/events
Did you know one in 40 Ashkenazi Jews carries a BRCA gene mutation, nearly 10 times the rate of the general population? That statistic makes Jewish families significantly more susceptible to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Sharsheret, a national not-for-profit organization, was formed to help support young Jewish women facing breast cancer.
JFS has partnered with Sharsheret to help bring resources to the Greater Orlando area and raise awareness of the high risk factor among Jewish women. Join us for our kick-off event on October 16th. JFS will be teaming with Sharsheret for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Commemorative t-shirts will be created for the event and all of the net proceeds raised from the Komen Central Florida Race for the Cure go to education, screening, treatment, and research programs.
JFS Staff member, Bonnie Haas, a 5 year breast cancer survivor will be joining the JFS/Sharsharet team in the Race for the Cure. Bonnie recently trimmed her long locks to donate to http://www.locksoflove.org/. Above are before and after pictures.
Lily Morgentaler fled to the U.S.in 1939 with her husband and daughter to avoid the gas chamber. Her mother, father and 7 siblings were not so lucky. They all perished in her native Poland during the Holocaust, along with so many of her neighbors and friends. “It was a dark time; the memory will never leave me,” said Morgenthaler.
She recalls that they arrived to the U.S. on an army boat, Truman was president and she didn’t know any English. Her small family found a home in a walk-up apartment in the East Bronx. “The rent was $37 a month and my husband made $35 a week in a butcher shop. Times were tight and after I had my son we were just scraping by. I can relate to the families struggling in today’s economy,” states Morgentaler.
Back then though, there were no social service agencies like JFS. “The people living next to us were business people and a little better off than us. The wife took pity on our situation and gave me $10 a week to iron their shirts. I was happy for the extra money so I could buy shoes for my children,” adds Morgetaler.
Morgentaler’s family grew and adapted and eventually settled - in Florida. ”We regularly gave to JFS because we knew what it was like to go without. Who knew that I would call on them again in a time of need,” states Morgentaler.
In later life, with her husband gone and no family nearby, Morgentaler found herself alone and needing help. Her daughter lost her life to kidney failure and her son lived a distance away. Her grandson helped out where he could, but she did not want to be a burden on his family. She heard about the holiday meal delivery program through JFS and signed up.
“I am so appreciative when JFS comes to the door during Rosh Hashanah. At 94, I don’t drive so I don’t get out much. It’s nice to have someone to talk to and to have a hot meal to celebrate the high holidays. I am very happy that this program exists,” states Morgentaler.
Throughout the year, JFS delivers hot kosher meals to the homebound elderly, hoping to make their holidays a little brighter. Not only does the individual receive a hot, nutritious meal, they are also able to spend a few minutes talking with a caring volunteer. Meals are prepared by Chef George at the Kinneret Kosher kitchen and are truly a holiday feast. A plate will include roast chicken, matzoh ball soup, dinner roll, fresh vegetables, sweet potato, various sides and a dessert.
The cost of one meal is $10.00 and JFS covers the cost of the 70+ meals that are delivered. JFS is asking the community to help supplement these costs by adopting a Bubbe or a Zayde, so that they may enjoy a hot holiday meal for the Jewish New Year. Please consider making a donation of $10 or more in support of this compassionate program.
Help JFS continue to provide for Lily and the many other older adults who are alone, without nearby family. Checks can be made payable to Jewish Family Services and mailed to JFS, The George Wolly Center, 2100 Lee Road, Winter Park, FL 32789. Please indicate on your check your donation is for Holiday Meals.
If you are a homebound senior, JFS volunteers will bring a kosher Rosh Hashanah dinner to your home on Wednesday, September 28th. To be included or to volunteer to deliver meals, please call JFS at 407-644-7593, ext. 227 by September 20th. Clients of JFS’s collaborative Hospice of the Comforter program, Yad L’Hesed, are also eligible to receive these meals.
July 2011: Clinicians Cover Combat Stress
In war, some suffer from wounds of flesh and bone, others from emotional and mental strife. Oftentimes the most common wounds aren't seen until soldiers return home. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the most sustained combat operations since the Vietnam War. According to the Brookings Institution’s Iraq Index, 30% of the US troops deployed develop serious mental health problems within 3 to 4 months of returning home from deployment.
“Combat stress” results from the intense mental and emotional work required when facing danger on a consistent basis. “Soldiers in active duty are on high alert 24 hours a day for long stretches of time, with little sleep and unable to attend to personal hygiene,” states Susan Weissmann, Clinical Director at JFS. “It’s not unusual for the body and mind to get overwhelmed and break down, resulting in various disorders.”
Marine corporal Sean Huze felt the unrelenting insurgent threat gave no opportunity to relax, and combat numbed the senses and emotions. "There is no 'front,' " Huze says."You go back to the rear, at the Army base, and you go in to get your chow, and the chow hall blows up."
Huze says the horror often isn't felt until later. "I saw a dead child, probably 3 or 4 years old, lying on the road in Nasiriyah," he says. "It moved me less than if I saw a dead dog at the time. I didn't care. Then you come back, if you are fortunate enough, and hold your own child, and you think of the dead child you didn't care about. ... You think about how little you cared at the time, and that hurts."*
If left untreated, combat stress not only adversely affects the lives of veterans, but their families as well. Weissmann goes on to say, “Families are systems, and what changes one member in some way changes all the family members.The soldier returning home is thrust back into a role of leader and provider after assuming a conditioned role of following commands”.
“There is a big transition that needs to occur. The soldier is taught to think, act, but not feel; a parent needs to be emotionally available, while maintaining the functioning of the household. Thus, spouses and children become frightened and confused by anger or strange behavior that comes out of nowhere from the active duty parent returning home. It can be a serious cause of conflict in the home and the marriage may begin to suffer.”
The Center for Counseling, Growth and Development at JFS is a resource for families dealing with the stressors of a family member returning home from the military. The licensed mental health staff received 36 hours of training at UCF to gain certification for specialized treatment of veterans and their families.
“Having trained staff working outside the Veterans Administration (VA) provides additional confidential resources for people in the military,” states Weissmann. “The culture in the military is that you don’t seek help. The thought is that a history of psychotherapy in the family can negatively affect a soldier’s rank and reputation. Since JFS is not part of the system, their anonymity remains intact.”
Families and individuals affected by the aftermath of active combat duty are encouraged to seek help. The Center for Counseling, Growth and Development at JFS offers results-oriented therapy in a caring environment at its office in Winter Park. JFS accepts various forms of insurance for counseling and is working on procuring Tri-Care as a provider, so that veterans can receive free mental healthcare. The office also works with the uninsured on a sliding scale basis. For a consultation, please call 407-644-7593, ext. 231.
*Source: USA Today: “Trauma of Iraq War Haunting Thousands Returning Home” by William M. Welch
June 2011: Centerpieces for Tzedakah Receives an Added Flourish
Have a special event coming up and want to make it more meaningful? Centerpieces for Tzdedakah is a JFS program that provides “tastefully” decorated centerpieces and bimah trunks for special events. The centerpieces come in the form of both baskets and miniature shopping carts and are filled with a representation of assorted packaged foods and wrapped in clear cellophane with bows.
Individuals and groups rent the centerpieces from JFS for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, weddings and graduations in lieu of expensive flowers, which eventually wilt and get disposed. The “rental” money helps support JFS pantries, which feed less fortunate individuals within our community. The concept is not only charitable, but is also “green!” In addition, JFS delivers and picks up the baskets at the site where the function is taking place - with no delivery fees and is 100% tax-deductible.
Storing 50 plus centerpieces can be a challenge. Through the generous support of Personal Mini Storage, the baskets have been preserved and stored in one of their facilities. Laurie Shader Smith, Vice President at Personal Mini Storage, has been a long-time friend to the agency and believes strongly in JFS’ mission. When the opportunity arose and Laurie’s younger son, Jake, was being Bar Mitzvahed, she knew that this was the perfect occasion to perform the Jewish tradition of tzedakah – giving back.
The baskets, which had been used many times for previous events, were a bit worse for wear and needed sprucing. As a personal mission, Laurie took this project upon herself to make the baskets beautiful and worthy of showing off at an upscale event. She approached Richard and Brian, the creative geniuses at Flourish Floral Productions in Orlando and asked them if they would be willing to help in this project. Laurie commented, “I didn’t have to plead; they were more than happy to be part of the project. It didn’t matter to them that it might take business away – the cause was more important. That really touched me.”
Flourish attractively wrapped each basket and decorated them with elegant bows, using neutral colors that would fit with any type of event. Flourish owner, Richard Streitler, states, “We felt this was our way of giving back to the community. It was truly a labor of love.” The end result are centerpieces that shine at any event and also demonstrate compassion and the true meaning of tzedakah.
JFS encourages anyone planning a special function to make the event more significant by renting Tzedakah centerpieces and/or bimah trunks for the occasion. Streitler added, “We support JFS because it reaches out to so many people. It’s comforting to know the money and time we invested will ultimately help feed many hungry families.”
To reserve your centerpieces contact Terry Nebel at JFS, 407-644-7593, ext. 250.