A Family Mitzvah in Celebration of a 50th Wedding Anniversary!

This past Saturday, the JFS Children’s Clothing Closet hosted a beautiful and inspiring event! In celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary, board member Chester Black and his wife Diane gathered with their six children, their spouses and their 23 grandchildren for a very special Ready-to-Wear packing event. Each grandchild came to fill bags with brand new clothes and shoes they had purchased for 23 JFS clients. Bags were adorned with letters of well wishes from the grandchildren and will be distributed to JFS clients in the Metrowest area in the next week, just in time for back to school!

The idea of the JFS Children’s Clothing Closet first originated in the Black family’s living room at the first ever JFS women’s event back in 2015. From this humble beginning, the closet has grown to the point where we distributed over 3,000 pieces of clothing to local families over the past year. The goal of the Children’s Clothing Closet is to provide a response to the seasonal clothing needs of elementary-aged children in the Metrowest community. We thank Diane and Chester Black for their mitzvah, generous support and tireless commitment to JFS of Metrowest for making programs like the Clothing Closet possible and congratulate them on their 50th anniversary!

Looking to learn more? Please click the following links to find out about our Clothing Closet:

The CCC is always in need of donations of kid’s (K-5) clothing (gently-used and/or new) and volunteers, if you are interested in donating or volunteering, please contact either:

Maggie Kenney: JFS Program Specialist (508) 875-3100 x 320, mkenney@jfsmw.org

Danny Woodward: JFS Program Manager (508) 875-3100 x 450, dwoodward@jfsmw.org

Posted in Children's Clothing Closet, Community Programs, Education Equity Initiative, Family Assistance Network, Immigrant and Resettlement, Jewish Community, Reducing Achievement Gaps, Volunteer Opportunities, We are JFS! | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Attend a Lunch and Learn on September 17th… “The Nitty Gritty Guide To Aging In Place”

What: You have a financial plan… You have an estate plan… But do you have a realistic plan for yourself? Should you move? Are you having difficulty finding your purpose after retirement?

These challenges of growing older can be anticipated, and you can be prepared. Please join Malka Young, LICSW, CCM Director of JFS Elder Care Solutions on September 17th, and she will share with you the ways that you can prepare yourself for the coming years.

When: Tuesday, September 17, 2019
12:00-1:30 PM

Location: Open Spirit
39 Edwards Street
Framingham, MA 01701

$4 Preregistered Admission
$6 at the door

Click here to register for this event online.


For more information, contact:

Abrielle Salloway: 508-875-3100 x360
Karen Reitzi: 508-875-3100 x480

Posted in Elder Care Management, Family Assistance Network, Healthy Aging, Lunch and Learn, Older Adults, We are JFS! | Tagged , , ,

8th Annual Build-A-Backpack Event a Huge Success!

Photo credits go to Axie Breen and JFS of Metrowest.

Last week, JFS celebrated our 8th annual Build-A-Backpack event at the Framingham and Wellesley Public Libraries.

With an incredible community turnout over the course of two days, we packed over 400 backpacks, surpassing our goal of 350 backpacks! These backpacks were fully packed with brand new school supplies, giving over 400 underserved elementary-aged students the tools and materials they need to start their school year off right.

The backpacks have been distributed to students in need in Framingham schools and throughout the Metrowest community, including those at both Woodrow Wilson and Brophy Elementary Schools.

In attendance were Rashi School families, Social Action Chairs of Congregation B’nai Torah—Tammy and Bob Weiser, Rabbi Polisson and Board President Robin Wolk of Temple Or Atid, Rabbi Poirer of Temple Beth Sholom, Rabbi Danny Burkeman of Temple Shir Tikva, and Rev. Debbie Clark of the Edwards Church/Open Spirit. Additionally, State Representative Jack Lewis and Framingham Public Schools Superintendent Bob Tremblay stopped by to show their support and build backpacks! We were also joined by a few of our own—JFS Board President David Milowe, Board Vice President Allison Kates and Board Member Peggy Barry and the children of Board Member Allan Chasen.

We would like to send a HUGE thank you to all of our wonderful community members who attended and supported the 2019 JFS Build-A-Backpack event! And special shout out to the Framingham Flyers Boys Ice Hockey team and the Nichols family for lending a helping hand in transporting backpacks to schools in the city. This event would not be possible without the continued dedication and commitment of our volunteers, donors and supporters—thank you for all that you do!

Visit us on Facebook to see more pictures or click to learn more about Build-a-Backpack.

About JFS of Metrowest

JFS is a non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to standing up for those left behind and provides services to over 5,000 people in need within the Metrowest region each year, including afterschool tutoring for at-risk children, nutrition assistance for low-income families, refugee resettlement case management, citizenship assistance, and support services that enable frail older adults to live independently.  To learn more about JFS, visit our website at www.jfsmw.org or like us on Facebook!

Posted in Community Programs, Education Equity Initiative, Family Assistance Network, Immigrant and Resettlement, Jewish Community, Reducing Achievement Gaps, Volunteer Opportunities, We are JFS! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

JFS Distributes Over 500 Items of Clothing and 50 Bags of Fresh Produce!

In mid-July, while parents were busy picking up their kids from summer camp, JFS held their sixth pop-up clothing distribution event this year in coordination with their 17th Healthy Harvest event at the Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Framingham. In less than three hours, we distributed over 50 bags of fresh produce and 500 articles of clothing!

The JFS Children’s Clothing Closet hosts these pop-up events to provide a store-like shopping experience at a variety of locations across the city of Framingham, including Woodrow Wilson and Fuller Middle School. All members of the community are welcome.  Participants were thrilled by the opportunity to “shop” for summer and back-to-school clothing that they otherwise may not have been able to afford.

Healthy Harvest is a JFS program run throughout the school year that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to 50-70 local families every two weeks as a part of our third and fourth grade extended-day programs.  When preparing the produce bags, we focus on a key vegetable, supplementing the bags with a matching recipe written and translated for parents, our goal being to help parents connect with their kids over food and cooking.  This week, recipes focused on zucchini, a summer favorite!

This pop-up event was made possible by the volunteers who contributed their time to help with sorting, transportation, organization, set up and take down of the over 500 items that were donated from the community and JFS partner Delivering Good.  Lending a helping hand were JFS volunteers Sarah Gotbetter, Andrea Sussman, Carol Hengerle, Liz Burnett and Michelle Bearak, as well as JFS board members Jodi Bring and Peggy Barry.

We are incredibly grateful to have such committed and kind volunteers who took the time out of their day to support a great cause!  We would also like to extend a special thank you to volunteer Sarah Gotbetter who has been coming twice a week to the Children’s Clothing Closet and has played an essential role in closet-related activities this summer.  Lastly, we would like to thank the Woodrow Wilson Elementary School for hosting and helping make these events possible!

We are always in need of donations of kid’s (K-5) clothing (gently-used and/or new) and volunteers, if you are interested in donating or volunteering, please contact either:

Maggie Kenney: JFS Program Specialist (508) 875-3100 x 320, mkenney@jfsmw.org

Danny Woodward: JFS Program Manager (508) 875-3100 x 450, dwoodward@jfsmw.org

Please click on the following links to learn more:

Posted in Children's Clothing Closet, Community Programs, Education Equity Initiative, Family Assistance Network, Immigrant and Resettlement, Reducing Achievement Gaps, Volunteer Opportunities, We are JFS! | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

JFS Mobilize Boston Shipping Container Has Arrived in Syria!

Earlier this spring, JFS of Metrowest, in partnership with the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees (MFA) and generous support provided by The Shapiro Foundation, committed to sending a shipboard container full of personal care, medical and other supplies to children and families living in refugee camps inside Syria. This project allowed schools, faith groups and community members to come together with the combined mission to take action for Syrian refugee families.

We are excited to share that on August 9th, the Mobilize Boston shipping container arrived at our local partner warehouse in northwest Syria! This JFS-MFA initiative shipped 13,801 items including clothing and medical, educational and personal care supplies to Syrian families living in refugee camps. Our local nonprofit partner in Syria shared that they were very grateful and pleased with the quality and quantity of supplies received.

All Photos Courtesy of Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees (MFA). Hygiene kits and toddler clothes were packed in Boston and received by a nonprofit partner in Syria.

These necessities will help refugee families maintain basic hygiene and dignity as well as fill a dire need for medical supplies in Syria’s collapsed medical industry. Children will receive the JFS backpacks in early September at the beginning of the school year in order to equip them with the commodities necessary for a continued education.

Mobilize Boston boxes unloaded at local partner warehouse in northwest Syria.

For more information and to see how you can get involved, please follow our blog!


Posted in Immigrant and Resettlement, Jewish Community, Resettlement, We are JFS! | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

A Debrief from Lucia Panichella, Director of Youth and Immigrant Services, JFS of Metrowest

Photos: Craig Byer, CJP

Earlier this month, I was privileged to be a part of Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP’s) Women in Philanthropy Mission to San Diego.  I was joined by CJP staff, a colleague from JCRC and about 20 women from our community who wanted to bear witness to the humanitarian crisis at our border and support the work that is happening to welcome and care for these families. When JFS COO, Lino, asked if I wanted to go I knew I had to be there, but I really didn’t know what awaited me.

We arrived Thursday afternoon and after a stop at the hotel, we got right to work. On the first day I helped lead a group sorting clothes and other donations while others painted and served food.  The shelter is housed in an old courthouse that is slated for demolition at the end of the year.  The electricity was out in the half of the building so we worked with no lights or AC. 

The next day we spent time learning from experts from JFS San Diego, ACLU and The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights about the ever changing landscape of the laws and policies affecting the border and the people there to give context for our work before returning to the shelter.  My task that afternoon was to clean the cots.  I knew – I know – how important the cleaning and the sorting is.  Especially to a place like that – where it’s all hands on deck, doing whatever it takes to change people’s lives.  But, it was the last day that I will take with me always.  While some women painted, a six year-old boy went over to help.  They turned to me because the volunteer was trying to tell him to take his jacket off so he didn’t get it dirty and he didn’t understand.  With my rusty Spanish, I translated and instantly made a new friend. 

At home I would have worried that my son would make too much of a mess of the painting to just enjoy watching him beam with pride as he moved the paint brush up and down.  However, in that space there was no room for worrying about little things like that.  This boy was healthy and smiling and adding his stamp to this space that welcomed him in and wrapped him with safety and love.  His older brother told me they left Honduras 3 years ago and would soon, hopefully, make their way to family in Georgia. 

And then there was S.  A three year old I first met while she was watching Despicable Me – my son’s favorite.  After only a few words and high fives she jumped right into my arms to dance and play for the rest of the afternoon.  Sharing her love through laughs.  I hated to say goodbye.  There’s comfort in knowing that she has a place to go to, parents who love her, and a charisma that will take her far.  But what awaits her?  Maybe she will settle in to a community like Framingham and find a school like Woodrow Wilson where community will dance and laugh with her and hold her hand.  I will see her in the faces of the Wilson students. 

I also saw the faces of our refugees.  Meeting these families and children reminded me of meeting our refugee families when they first arrive at the airport.  Their journey was different but their story is the same.  The parents were tired, wary and sad but also relieved and hopeful.  Their love for their children was almost tangible.  Their children were the fuel keeping them going, the only thing that on occasion let their guard down and smile for a moment.  These precious children, wanting only to play and laugh.  We can learn a lot from these children.  They know how to genuinely love and connect with strangers.  They deserve for the world to greet them with the same.

I am so honored to be a part of this group of people who said that showing these children and families that we care is important enough to travel across the country for.  As they continue on their journey they probably won’t remember us but I hope that that message of caring will forever be a part of their hearts.

Learn More:

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San Diego, CA, US

Posted in Community Programs, Immigrant and Resettlement, Jewish Community, Volunteer Opportunities, We are JFS! | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Join Our Team of JFS Patient Navigators – Next Training: Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Flyer-become a PN volunteer-header

Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Lunch and materials provided

Flyer-become a PN volunteer-quoteVolunteer in your free time and help frail older adults get the medical care and information they need to manage their heath, improve their quality of life and live independently in the community.

Volunteer as a JFS Patient Navigator:

  • Receive comprehensive, ongoing training and support
  • Gain experience navigating healthcare systems and working with older adults
  • Select appointments that fit your schedule
  • Get a Patient Navigator padfolio to organize communications
  • Join a team of highly trained volunteers who make a direct and positive impact in the lives of people every day

Learn How to:

  • Help older adults prepare for upcoming medical appointments, review
    concerns and frame questions
  • Serve as a companion to medical appointments and procedures
  • Facilitate communication between doctor and patient
  • Take notes during the visit
  • Assist in scheduling follow up care and picking up prescriptions

The Older Adults You Will be Helping:

  • Aged 60 to 100+ years old
  • Live in Framingham, Natick and surrounding communities
  • Able to enter and exit a car independently

Flyer-become a PN volunteer-footer

Tuesday, September 10, 2019
475 Franklin Street, Suite 101, Framingham MA 01702

Call 508-875-3100 x 110 or
email patientnav@jfsmw.org today!

Download the flyer (PDF)

Learn More:

Posted in Elder Care Management, Healthy Aging, Older Adults, Patient Navigator, Volunteer Opportunities, We are JFS! | Tagged , , , , , ,