JFS Distributes Largest Number of Ready to Wear Packages Yet!

Earlier this week, just in time for the winter holiday break, the JFS Children’s Clothing Closet distributed a total of 65 pre-ordered clothing packages to students at the Woodrow Wilson and Brophy Elementary Schools in Framingham, our largest distribution to date!

This early winter clothing distribution is a part of our Ready-to-Wear program, which launched in Dec. 2018. Ready-to-Wear works with families in our community to provide a seasonal response to clothing needs and are specifically catered to children’s sizes and needs.

For this distribution, 65 children from Brophy Elementary and Woodrow Wilson – were given warm weather clothing, including sneakers, jeans, socks, warm pajamas, sweaters, and more! The clothing was distributed in individualized packages based on order forms that were submitted by families in early November.

All students from Woodrow Wilson who received clothing are also participants in either All Stars or STEAM Academy, our Pathways to Academic Growth, Empowerment, and Success (PAGES) extended-day programs we host at the school. These programs operate under our Academic and Social Equity Initiative.

Ready to Wear packages lined up for distribution at the end of All Stars and STEAM Academy programs at Woodrow Wilson.

We thank our community partners for the donations of clothing and our volunteers, including JFS of Metrowest board members, staff and volunteers for preparing the orders — with your help and support these students are all prepared with the clothes they need to have a happy and warm winter!

The JFS Children’s Clothing Closet looks forward to additional Ready-to-Wear Distribution events, which occur on a seasonal basis, and is always accepting order forms on a rolling basis from our clients.

Please click on the following links to learn more:

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:

Anniey Michelson: JFS Program Specialist (508) 875-3100 x 440, amichelson@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, Immigrant and Resettlement, Reducing Achievement Gaps, Volunteer Opportunities, We are JFS! | Tagged , , , , , ,

2019 JFS Report to the Community

Dear JFS Supporters and Community Members:

This is your Jewish Family Service of Metrowest 2019 Report to the Community.

We are a powerful collective, marshaling professional talent and purposeful volunteerism, combined with philanthropy.

Please read the President and CEO message on the opening page as there are important and exciting changes occurring at JFS.

Look at JFS on Charity Navigator … 4 Stars, a 100% score. Almost unheard of.

JFS is accelerating social, academic and health equity for our community members.

Our programs have demonstrated impacts.

We thank you for your investment, commitment and generosity.

These are perilous times for vulnerable children, families and elders.
It cuts across the Jewish community and the general community.
The government safety net is ripping apart and many of our clients are tumbling towards crisis.
Immigrants and refugees rejected by our national leadership.

The distressed families unable to make ends meet; the children needing warm clothes and food; the immigrants striving to become citizens; the unexpectedly unemployed looking for a job; the older adults with memory problems needing accompaniment to doctors’ appointments; couples and individuals wanting to create a family through adoption; the adult children struggling to take care of frail, aging parents.

JFS must be there for them—

JFS is an agency filled with problem solvers. We find the solutions to these problems and very personal needs.

With our gratitude,

Please click here to view the Report and feel free to
share the Report across your own networks.

If you would like to have a face-to-face meeting to deepen your knowledge and connect to JFS, please contact Amanda Coughlin at acoughlin@jfsmw.org.

Posted in Business, Jewish Community, We are JFS! | Tagged , , , ,

Collaborative Partnership Brings First-Ever Homework Dinner to Woodrow Wilson Elementary!

Earlier this week, JFS of Metrowest, in close partnership with Framingham Public Schools, Woodrow Wilson PTO and Daniel’s Table, hosted the first ever Homework Dinner and Academic Support Night at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School! JFS invited students, families, teachers, and volunteers to share a complementary dinner while working on homework and building other academic skills in a supportive and fun environment.

50 Wilson students, along with their parents and siblings–a total of 170 individuals–filled the Woodrow Wilson cafeteria. Daniel’s Table provided a healthy meal for everyone. Teachers and community volunteers set up a series of stations where together, students and parents worked on homework, learned new math and literacy games to enjoy at home, and further developed critical academic skills. Parents were able to spend time with their children, meet other parents, and hear about what their kids are learning in school. It was an amazing opportunity for the whole Wilson community to connect and learn more about the support available at the school.

Homework dinners give parents and caregivers a fresh opportunity to engage with their child’s learning and their school community. This engagement, in turn, increases family empowerment to build successful educational experiences for their children.

Thanks to a wonderful partnership with Exelon Generation and Operation Warm, students were also able to go home with brand new winter coats!

Operation Warm coats (left) and David Blaise of Daniel’s Table serving food to families (right)

As part of this pilot program, JFS will be hosting three additional Homework Dinners at Woodrow Wilson:

  • Monday, January 6th
  • Monday, March 2nd
  • Monday,  May 4th

If you’re interested in volunteering please contact Lucia Panichella, lpanichella@jfsmw.org

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 Education Equity Initiative, Immigrant and Resettlement, Pathways to Academic Growth & Enrichment, Volunteer Opportunities, We are JFS! | Tagged , , , , , ,

Celebrate Hanukkah with a Charitable Gift to JFS!

Ronna and Scott Cohen, with JFS staff Diana O’Brien and Lino Covarrubias

It is with abundant gratitude that JFS thanks Ronna and Scott Cohen for their generous gift of food cards to the Lucy and Joe’s Food Pantry which provides emergency assistance to people in need. For the past 7 years, the Cohens have performed a Hanukkah mitzvah with a donation to JFS and we are honored to once again be included in their holiday celebrations.

With the support of generous donors like these, JFS is able to offer many services free of charge to over 5,000 people within the Metrowest and Greater Boston regions each year, targeting at-risk families, individuals, immigrants, and elders aging in place.

Dedicated to accelerating social, academic and health equity, JFS is:

  • Increasing the ability of frail elders to maximize independence and quality of life as they navigate the challenges that come with aging
  • Accelerating academic achievement and pathways to college for low-income and first-generation students
  • Providing safety, hope and opportunity for refugees victimized by world conflict
  • Advancing equity with comprehensive assistance that empowers immigrant families to succeed
  • Reducing poverty in our community with case management, basic needs assistance and employment readiness support
  • Mobilizing social justice action that has meaningful impact in our community and beyond

charitynavigator-2JFS provides the tools to meet life’s obstacles to stabilize during a crisis and optimally achieve self-sufficiency, strengthen lives, improve wellbeing, and build a stronger community. JFS’ sound fiscal management practices have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.

Honor the holiday with a charitable gift to JFS and
help us stand up for those left behind!








Posted in Family Assistance Network, Jewish Community, We are JFS! | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Attend a Lunch and Learn on December 19th – Boost your Brain Health

“A healthful diet can boost overall brain health, cognitive function, delay the onset of dementia symptoms, reduce strokes, heart attacks and deaths due to heart disease”

Our award-winning Brain Healthy Cooking Program, which is largely based on the popular and well researched Mediterranean Diet, offer seniors delicious taste-tested brain healthy choices every day. Our program outlines the important role played by diet in the cause, prevention and management of Alzheimer’s disease.

Presented by Michael Schaus, Executive Director of Cornerstone at Canton.

Each participant will receive samples and a Brain Healthy Nutrition Kit!

When: Thursday, December 19, 2019
12:00-1:30 PM

Location: Temple B’nai Torah
225 Boston Post Rd.
Sudbury, MA 01776


Kosher Style Lunch
$2 for preregistered admission
$4 at the door

Two Ways to Register:

By phone: Call Karen Reitzi: 508-875-3100 x480
By email: kreitzi@jfsmw.org

Posted in Community Programs, Elder Care Management, Healthy Aging, Lunch and Learn, Older Adults, Patient Navigator, Warm Connectors, We are JFS! | Tagged , , ,

JFS and Community Partners Provide Annual Thanksgiving Dinners to Families at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School

All Photos Courtesy of Sheldon Golder

It is with overwhelming gratitude that JFS thanks our partners, Daniel’s Table of Framingham, and the many community supporters who helped provide 125 families with everything needed to enjoy a full and festive Thanksgiving Dinner.

In addition to generous support from Daniel’s Table, the Holiday Dreams Foundation, and the Gerber Family, JFS also sends a huge THANK YOU to all of our sponsors and our 30+ volunteers. Volunteers comprised of JFS board members and staff, area companies, local school groups, the staff at the Woodrow Wilson Elementary School and Metrowest area families!

Among the Board members and community leaders volunteering were…

    • Board President David Milowe and daughter Jacquie
    • Board Member Chase Carpenter
    • Board Member Deb Merkin
    • Board Member Jodi Bring
    • Board Member Jonathan Gerber, former Board Member Leslie Gerber their children, Benjamin, Chloe, Ryan and Lily
    • Board Member Peggy Barry
    • Allan and Rebecca Chasen and children Noah and Sam
    • Andrew Troop
    • Carol Hengerle 
    • David Blaise of Daniel’s Table
    • Dana Volman, wife of Board Vice President Joe Volman 
    • Deborah Kaplan and daughters Alexa and Sophie
    • Debbie Lipsett
    • The Framingham Flyers Boys Ice Hockey Team
    • Julie Locke
    • Leslie and Juliana Singer
    • Marni Israel and daughter Sophie
    • Michelle and Steve Bearak and their daughter Ruby
    • Neil and Tracy Ross and sons Zack and Casey
    • Rachel Welt
    • Susan Brady and husband James
    • Sheldon Golder (volunteer photographer)

And thank you to our sponsors…

  • The Gerber Family
  • The Holiday Dreams Foundation
  • Market Basket

The annual JFS Thanksgiving Dinner distribution is part of the constellation services provided to the families at the Wilson school through Accelerating Social, Academic and Health Equity Programming.

As one recipient said:

“Thank you so much for sending me to get the turkey and trimmings.  What a great treat. I am blown away by all the generosity.  There is much good in the world.”

Happy Thanksgiving to All from JFS of Metrowest!

Posted in Community Programs, Education Equity Initiative, Family Assistance Network, Volunteer Opportunities, We are JFS! | Tagged , , , , ,

JFS of Metrowest to Honor Outstanding Community Leaders At 30th Annual Seize the Dream Gala on May 7, 2020

Thursday May 7, 2020
Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center

Click here and sign up to be notified when sponsorships and tickets go on sale!

Framingham, MA – November 21, 2019 – Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Metrowest is pleased to announce the honorees for the 30th annual Seize the Dream Gala to be held on Thursday May 7, 2020 at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center:

Bob Fields and the team at CommCreative

Retiring CEO of JFS,
Marc Jacobs

and receiving the
JFS Max Michelson Humanitarian Award:
Barbara and Samantha Shapiro

Seize the Dream honors area leaders and volunteers who have demonstrated an unfailing commitment and personal dedication to supporting vulnerable children, families, and senior adults in the local community and beyond. This year’s honorees have made it their life’s work to stand up for those left behind and it is a privilege to recognize these exceptional individuals.

Bob Fields and the team at CommCreative
Entrepreneur. Volunteer. Husband. Father. Musician. Artist. Bob Fields has led a distinguished and colorful life in which he has worn many different hats. After a career in marketing at leading brands like Gillette and Foster Grant, Bob founded CommCreative, which has grown into one of the industry’s leading B2B marketing agencies.

Bob has distinguished himself by applying his entrepreneurial spirit-and love of the arts-to community work. He founded the Community Kiln at the Brick Stack Arts Center in Framingham, a studio where everyone is welcome to come together to experience, learn about, and celebrate ceramic arts.

Over the years, Bob has dedicated his time to serving on several boards that reflect his various interests, including the Framingham State University Foundation, The Danforth Museum of Art, WICN Public Radio, and the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce.

JFS however, remains closest to his heart. Bob has been a board member since 2010 and during that time, he has played a significant role in JFS’ mission to help strengthen the community through programs that offer support and comfort to seniors, immigrants, low income families and more.

Both as a board member and in harmony with his exceptionally talented and responsive team, Bob has embodied CommCreative’s “THINK WITH YOUR HEART” philosophy and fueled impact with strategy and expertise that accelerates JFS’ drive to advance social, health and educational equity in our community. Now retired, Bob continues to address community needs wherever he goes. He truly Thinks and Acts with his big heart every day.

Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs, MSW, LICSW, has been the Chief Executive Officer of JFS since 1996. His career exemplifies civic engagement, a moral compass unrelenting in addressing social and health inequities and building collaborative partnerships to have collective impact.

Marc held mid-level and senior staff and management positions in organizations serving youth and families at risk prior to joining JFS. He has led national training and curriculum projects; and is widely published in the areas of youth development, life skills education with adolescents and foster parent training. He holds Master’s Degrees from Boston University School of Social Work and from Clark University.

Marc has received significant leadership awards. In November 2018, he was named Middlesex Savings Bank Foundation’s 3rd Annual recipient of the John R. Heerwagen Award for Nonprofit Leadership. The award recognizes a strong, nonprofit leader whose work has significantly benefited the lives and wellbeing of residents within the Foundation’s community.

In 2017, William James College awarded Marc its prestigious Mental Health Humanitarian Award for his social justice leadership. Also in 2017, The Joukowsky Family Foundation awarded its Sharp Rescuer Prize to Marc and his team for their tireless work supporting Syrian refugees in a large community wide project.

As Marc’s hero and legendary civic leader Hubie Jones recently wrote, “You are truly a long distance runner for social justice”.

2020 JFS Max Michelson Humanitarian Awardees:
Barbara and Samantha Shapiro
Barbara and Samantha Shapiro are committed to social justice. They both love children and helping others. And they are inspired when working side by side as a mother-daughter team. Their passions aligned in 2016 when they became a part of the JFS Syrian Refugee Humanitarian Project. With their family, they helped set up homes, shopped for baby gear, collected donations of clothes and winter gear and developed relationships with newcomer Syrian families. Barbara had the privilege to be at the airport to welcome most of the eight Syrian refugee families resettled by the program.

“They embraced the family as an extension of their own. They provided the kids with memories and experiences they will never forget – like going to the beach, seeing the Big Apple Circus, and going trick or treating – and they celebrated every important milestone with the family since they arrived – including Hayat’s birth! Rekanz thinks of Barbara as a second mom.”
—Lucia Panichella, JFS Senior Director, Programs and Partnerships

Barbara serves on the boards of Horizons for Homeless Children, Beaver Country Day School and formerly JFS of Metrowest and The Rashi School. Barbara plays a number of volunteer roles in the community and has been a classroom volunteer at Horizons for Homeless Children for over 11 years. In addition to remaining actively involved with some of the families welcomed by the JFS Syrian Refugee Humanitarian Project, Barbara is a trustee and involved in efforts led by her family’s foundation, The Shapiro Foundation, which is focused on global refugee causes and improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable populations. Prior to retiring to become a full-time parent and community volunteer, Barbara had a career in marketing and advertising.

Samantha Shapiro is 17 years old and a senior at Beaver Country Day School. From a young age, Samantha has been exposed to social justice and has sought opportunities to make a difference. She volunteers at Family Table, packing and delivering groceries to those in need. In grade school, she collected school supplies to deliver to Yemin Orde Youth Village in Haifa, Israel. She visited refugee camps with her family in Lesbos, Greece. She is a summer camp counselor and babysits every chance she gets. And she spends as much time as she can visiting Syrian families and their children…and practicing her Arabic (which she takes in school)! Samantha plays hockey goalie and is captain of her tennis team. She is part of the Jewish Actors Workshop (JAWs) at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley and recently filmed a documentary about the journey of one Syrian refugee family.

Barbara and Samantha reside in Needham with husband/father Ed, and son/brother Joshua (when he’s not away at college). They are members of Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley.

In celebration of these extraordinary community partners, this year’s Seize the Dream Gala will be a festive affair with dinner and refreshments provided by over 16 local caterers and restaurants, as well as an online and silent auction featuring 100+ unique items, ranging from dining and vacation packages to electronics and autographed sports memorabilia.

To learn more, please visit www.jfsmw.org.

About Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Metrowest

charitynavigator-2JFS is a community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to standing up for those left behind, serving over 5,000 people within the Metrowest and Greater Boston regions each year. The proceeds of the Seize the Dream event support a wide variety of programs including extended-day tutoring for at-risk children, nutrition assistance for low-income families and support services that enable frail older adults to live independently. JFS’ sound fiscal management practices have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. To learn more about JFS, visit www.jfsmw.org.



Posted in Jewish Community, Seize the Dream, Upcoming Events, Volunteer Opportunities, We are JFS!