Feeding people is a deeply felt Jewish value, and nobody feels it more than the women in our community. That’s why 30 women from Women's Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati came together this past Sunday morning to package over 140 kosher and non-kosher Thanksgiving meals for clients at Jewish Family Service’s Heldman Family Food Pantry.
All this work makes a big difference: Sandee Golden, Food Pantry and Volunteer Manager at Jewish Family Service, was “overwhelmed.” She said, “While we always have provided turkeys, this will be the first time we have been able to give our pantry clients a full, dignified, Thanksgiving meal.”
Thanks to the Women’s Philanthropy planning committee of the Federation— Laura Berger, Ali Bernstein, Chrissie Blatt and Bryna Miller—the event was a success. The committee identified 30 women they felt would be interested, and almost everyone said yes. In addition, each woman signed up to bring 36 items to put in the packages.
“I was thrilled to come together with other women and provide a festive holiday meal for needy families in our community. In just one hour we fed over 100 families, reconnected with old friends and met new people,” reflected Miller.
Green beans, canned corn, stuffing and mashed potato mixes, applesauce, and desserts filled the tables in the Barbash Family Vital Support Center. The women packaged each box and tied it with a bow. Special touches included Thanksgiving napkins and a special prayer translated by a Mayerson JCC volunteer into English, Hebrew and Russian.
Women’s Philanthropy didn’t go so far as to throw in the kitchen sink, but they thoughtfully provided everything else needed for a full Thanksgiving meal. The women wanted to make sure the Food Pantry’s clients are able to cook the turkeys they receive, and so donated roasting pans as well.
Before leaving the event, the women took tours of the facility and were given the chance to select “snowflakes” with holiday wish list items for clients of Jewish Family Service’s Adoption Connection.
“The event was incredibly meaningful. Not only was Women's Philanthropy able to provide the makings of a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, we got to learn about all of the great things Jewish Family Service and the Federation do in our community all year long,” said event chair Laura Berger.
The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati supports the work of Jewish Family Service (JFS) through allocations from its annual Community Campaign. Last year 24% of the total allocations went to support 40 JFS programs.