Jewish Family and Children Services of Northern New Jersey held its annual meeting on June 23, in person, in Temple Emanu-El of Closter’s outdoor tent. The program is held at the end of every fiscal year to reflect on the accomplishments of the organization, its staff, and board. This year, it also presented the first opportunity for many people to see each other in real life for more than a year.
Rachel Scheff, the organization’s board president, called the meeting to order by welcoming the everyone to the event. In his d’var Torah, the shul’s rabbi, David-Seth Kirshner, said “that the work that this group in particular does, is work with your hands to touch other people’s hearts and souls.”
In her report, Susan Greenbaum, JFCSNNJ’s chief executive officer, talked about the hardships the agency faced as growing numbers of community members reached out for help in the peak months of the pandemic. With each passing week the agency recorded grim milestones, as JFCS’ mental health services, Kosher Meals on Wheels, and the food pantry took on more and more clients. The food pantry alone saw a 400 percent increase in covid-safe pick-up appointments. “All of us, all together do nothing less dramatic than moving mountains every day, because helping a child or an adult or a family to find a new path of health and hope is miraculous indeed,” Ms. Greenbaum said.
Andy Benesch was named Volunteer of the Year. Since 2019, and even more so during the pandemic, Mr. Benesch has shown a commitment to his KMOW clients. Rather than reducing or eliminating his volunteer hours during the pandemic, he took on even more deliveries.
The program ended with a dedication to the outgoing board members — Bruce Egert, Barry Feigenbaum, Joan Krieger, Geoffrey Lewis, Gail Loewenstein, and Ilene Gelman. Sarah Nanus of Tenafly was installed as JFCS’s newest board member.
Ms. Scheff adjourned the meeting with words of hope and encouragement — that the beginning of a new fiscal year will be prosperous for the agency and marked with good health and community support.
For information on volunteering, call Patrick Kidd at (201) 837-9090 or email him at PatrickK@jfcsnnj.org.