Last month, many generous individuals, organizations, and corporations
collected holiday gifts for JFS clients. Through our Bright Holidays
program, nearly 400 individuals
received hand-picked gifts such as clothing,
toys, electronics, sports equipment, and other items on their wish
lists. The SHALOM Denver TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) program received toys for 29 children and an additional 125 children
picked out toys when they visited the Weinberg Food Pantry.
The gifts came from 75 individuals and family groups plus various businesses and organizations including:
- B’nai Havurah
- Hebrew Educational Alliance (HEA)
- Holland & Hart
- Lockheed Martin’s Operation Santa Claus
- MassMutual Colorado
- Pioneer Natural Resources
- Rodef Shalom Sisterhood
- Temple Emanuel Sisterhood
- Westin Tabor Center
- Wolf Slatkin & Madison
There are so many special stories that come out of the Bright Holidays program and we wish we could share them all. One of our donors, Lisa Soicher, got connected to this program in 2011 when her son was helped through our KidSuccess
school-based counseling program and she wanted a way to give back. The Soichers “adopted” a family of nine and she enlisted some of her colleagues at JEWISHcolorado (formerly Allied Jewish Federation) to help purchase the items on their wish list. When she dropped off the gifts at JFS, she found out that we still had more families who needed to be adopted, so she decided to help. She asked people at her synagogue, Hebrew Educational Alliance (HEA), to help buy gifts and many congregants stepped up.
“It was so beautiful – people who didn’t even know each other worked together to purchase all the gifts for these families,” said Lisa. “JFS’s theme that year was ‘The Chain Reaction of Good,’ which was definitely at work with this project!” In 2011, she and her network bought gifts for 16 people. For the last two years, Lisa adopted more and more families. She created a display board with all of the clients’ thank-you cards and brought it to services at the HEA. She spoke to the congregation during services and shared some of the items on the families’ wish lists — including cleaning supplies and nail files, not the kinds of gifts most of us would think to ask for — and lots of people volunteered to help. Between Lisa’s colleagues, friends, and HEA congregants, they bought gifts for 45 people this year!
Thank you so much, Lisa, for organizing this amazing show of support!
A big thank you to Shelley Tait (pictured above),
Family Safety Net administrative assistant, for all her hard work
organizing the collection and distribution of the gifts again this year.
Thank you to Andrea Stillman (pictured above) for volunteering for Bright Holidays the last three years! She has been a huge help shopping for gifts with donated gift cards and organizing them.
Another holiday tradition is a partnership between Temple Emanuel religious school third graders and our JFS Hearts and Hands Homemaker Program, in which the students create baskets of gifts and household items for our clients with HIV/AIDS. This year, we selected six clients and gave a description of the families and their needs to the religious school teachers to share with the kids. It is a great mitzvah project for the kids and the clients are so appreciative!
Thank you to everyone who adopted a family and helped make their
holidays brighter! Happy New Year from all of us at JFS.
-Alaina Green and Kari Alpen, JFS Marketing Department