Issue 83 | December 2020
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 Drive for Dreidels

Let’s start by saying a huge thank you to everyone who made this year’s Drive for Dreidels so incredibly successful. Due to the pandemic and the need to limit in-person shopping, we had to get creative. In past years, we held a toy drive and stationed toy collection boxes at different locations around the city to be filled by donors. Once those boxes were full, they were brought to JF&CS workers who chose specific toys that they knew their clients would love. Additionally, donors could purchase gift cards for clients which were distributed by workers.

This year, running Drive for Dreidels as we have in the past created too much risk. Instead, our generous donors were invited to visit our online “store” and purchase items that were specifically curated based on the needs and wants of JF&CS clients. We are so thrilled with the incredible response we’ve seen from our donors and know that our clients are loving their gifts.

One client sent us a note reading: “Thank you for the GENEROUS gifts. I’m sitting here at my kitchen table crying and blown away at how thoughtful and amazing you and the JF&CS family is. In a million years I would have never expected this. I’ve always wanted to buy that Chanukah house to build with the kids but it was too expensive for me to justify it. Now we get to do it as an activity for one of the nights. The game for the kids and those gift cards!!! Wow! Thank you sooo much! This Chanukah will be extra special.

We are so pleased to be able to announce that this year’s Drive for Dreidels has raised over $7,500 thus far. This means that JF&CS will be able to deliver gifts to over 250 children this Chanukah. Thank you to our community and your incredible generosity during this uncertain time.

Virtual Connections

With everyone confined to their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, being able to virtually connect with others is something many people may take for granted. At JF&CS, workers recognize how important it is for clients to maintain virtual social connections, virtual workdays and virtual schooling. As well, in order to secure employment, many companies are only conducting virtual interviews making it difficult for those without access to a computer to find work. Knowing this, in the past 6 months, JF&CS workers have been able to distribute 30 laptop computers to clients who previously did not have access to a working computer. The ability to purchase and distribute many of those computers was, and continues to be, funded by donors who generously give to JF&CS.

Many clients will now be able to use these computers to connect to free virtual wellness classes at the Miles Nadal JCC. The MNJCC has created these classes and sessions to assist clients with keeping a healthy mind and body during these uncertain times. It is through the hard work and dedication of the MNJCC as well as the support of JF&CS, V’ahavta, Bernard Betel, and a grant provided by United Way that these sessions are able to run and we are able to keep everyone as connected to the community as possible.

MNJCC will also be providing support to clients who do not feel comfortable on the computer and may need assistance in navigating the internet, getting registered for classes or accessing Zoom. During the isolating times, it is so important for us to ensure that our clients are able to keep connected and in touch in every way possible and these computers are helping them to do just that. Thank you to everyone who continues to make this possible.

Not Your Bubbie's Latkes

Not Your Bubbie’s Latkes with Chef Jordan Wagman had a non-traditional take on a classic Chanukah dish giving latkes a run for their gelt! On December 6 and 7, Chef Jordan Wagman led two free virtual cooking classes in celebration of the upcoming holidays. On Sunday morning, families and kids logged on to Zoom and learned all about food, healthy eating and how to make a deliciously sweet treat; apple pie potato galette. On Monday night, it was the adults turn to fry up something fun. Over 50 participants logged on to the event and were taught to make a potato galette with smoked salmon salad—the perfect Chanukah lunch or snack! There was sizzling, chopping, flipping, stories and songs that kept everyone on their toes and entertained.

At the end, participants showed off their creations and finally got to eat after all of their hard work. We received so much amazing feedback from participants, including this lovely message: “Our family really enjoyed this demonstration by Jordan. He’s delightful and even our children were a part of it! The bonus - a beautiful and delicious dinner, and a wonderful recipe to keep and make often. Thanks so much to Jordan Wagman and your outreach committee.”

A huge thank you to Chef Jordan for donating his time and kitchen to help our JF&CS community cook up a tasty treat!

Giving Tuesday

This year’s Giving Tuesday campaign demonstrated once again how truly passionate and caring the JF&CS community is. On December 1st, we asked for your contributions towards winter apparel for JF&CS clients and you certainly came through! We were absolutely blown away by the level of support we received and by the number of people we are able to outfit with winter clothing this year. Donors were able to give towards the purchase of essential winter items such as gloves, a hat, a scarf, winter boots and a winter coat for individuals and families in need. Together, we raised over $50,000 and will be able to provide winter clothing to more than 140 JF&CS clients.

Thank you for spreading awareness for our Giving Tuesday campaign both in person and online. Your kindness has ensured the warmth and safety of others this winter.

Virtual Chanukah Party for Resource, Kinship & Adopt Families

On Tuesday December 15, the Child Welfare team will be hosting our annual Resource Chanukah Party. Though it will be online this year, we still have a full agenda of fun-filled Chanukah games and activities for our resource families and youth in care. We delivered packages containing Chanukah cookie decorating kits from Electric Love Bakery, menorahs, dreidels, gelt, and latke recipes to all participants and will even be running a cookie decorating contest over Zoom. We will also have our very own Rabbi Weiss and Rabbi Chemel to lead us in a communal menorah lighting for the sixth night followed by an online Kahoot Chanukah trivia game and raffle! While we can’t celebrate in person as we would have liked, we are very excited to welcome our families over Zoom and share in this magical holiday with warmth from the JF&CS community.

Happy Chanukah to all of our JF&CS friends and family!

Here is our Chanukah gift to you…
A brand new Jewish Folks Telling Jokes video for your enjoyment!


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Jewish Family and Child Service | 4600 Bathurst St, 1st Floor, Toronto, ON   M2R 3V3
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