The Jewish Family Service of Central New Jersey honored staff and volunteers for their efforts during a year that saw greater demand for its services than ever before.
Speaking at its annual meeting held June 1 at the Wilf Jewish Community Campus in Scotch Plains, executive director Tom Beck drew a portrait of that demand in statistics.
The agency served 6,700 men, women, and children; provided 27,000 hours of counseling; and served 28,000 kosher Meals on Wheels, among other services.
The agency provided 40,000 hours of after-school programming in 2009, and served 1,000 individuals in its Living in Neighborhoods Kind to Seniors and Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities Program, which has been renewed for 2010-11, and recommended for 2011-12.
“The number of people in need will break last year’s record,” said Beck, looking ahead to the new fiscal year, “but so will the number of volunteers who want to help, the quantity of food being donated to our food pantry, and the amount of money being contributed to help others every single day.”
Beck also alluded to Christie administration cuts that eliminated the after-school programming, and said that JFS became coordinator of the countywide Home Health Aide Training, with a new contract from the Union County Division on Aging.
Outgoing president David Brook thanked JFS supporters for their generosity.
His successor, Jennifer Pollak, said she hopes to engage more people from the community, and to step up the contribution made by its board members. “We will get through this together,” she said.
The organization honored the committee that organized its second annual art show benefit, and also two volunteers who have worked year after year to bring JFS’ assistance to those who need it — Alex Engel and Steven Schnipper, both of Elizabeth.
Both men have come in one Sunday a month for about the past five years to deliver food parcels from the JFS Kosher Food Pantry to individuals and families in need.
Both are leaders with their respective shuls — Engel as president of the Jewish Educational Center’s Elmora Avenue Shul, and Schnipper as treasurer of the Elmora Hills Minyan. Schnipper and his wife also run a baby equipment exchange, and he serves as a dispatcher for the Hatzalah of Union County emergency ambulance service.
Monica Reiss of Fanwood offered a special thank you to the agency. She was one of about 200 people who benefited from JFS’ Economic Response Initiative, headed by counselors Carol Einhorn and Sheri Brown, and funded with a grant from the Jewish Federation of Central NJ. Reiss, who has a doctorate in public health, attended one of the three support groups for job seekers for seven months before finding a new job a couple of months ago.
“The weekly meetings were a touchstone of my job search,” she said. “It was wonderful getting up on a Monday morning with somewhere to go where there would be friendly faces and open hearts.”