JFCS Offers a Wealth of Services
With so many retirees and Snow Birds, Sarasota is home to myriad service organizations, yet one appears to be tightly woven throughout the entire community — Jewish Family and Children Services. JFCS is a “multi-county…multi-function social service non profit” that serves 15,000 clients in our area every year.
I attended a fundraiser and luncheon for JFCS where I gleaned a lot about what this organization does: case management, senior outreach, mentoring, life skills education, financial assistance, veteran services, food pantries, counseling, Alzheimer’s and caregivers support, and much, much more.
The event began with a talk by board president Steve Seidensticker, also the owner of several restaurants in Sarasota, including Louie’s Modern and Libby’s. Steve spoke about the ongoing need for funding, support, and volunteers. Right now JCFS has 475 active volunteers which indicated theirs is an organized, hands-on group. It is also non denominational. 80% of those receiving services are not Jewish.
Several other speakers gave case histories of people the organization has helped. One such recipient was Favio, a child who had anxiety in the classroom. He was able to join JFCS’s Safe Alternative of Out-of-School Suspension program at Booker Middle School, a low-income public school. After being matched with a mentor who met with him once a week, Flavio was able to graduate with his class and is now a coach at the school and a volunteer for the Healthy Fathers program.
Another woman, Marjorie, took the stage and told her personal story: When her husband was diagnosed with lung and liver cancers, he could no longer work. They moved to Sarasota to live with relatives who didn’t have a spare bedroom, so they slept on the floor. JFCS found them an alternative place to live and provided the family with food, gas, and medical assistance. After her husband died, Marjorie received bereavement counseling. She is now an executive secretary but continues to attend Cancer Support and Wellness classes.
The event was enlightening and heart-warming. Sarasota is a city of good will.
The Sarasota Spectator