Jewish Family Services of KC helping local families this Hanukkah amidst pandemic

Taly Friedman Melissa Kingston & Vicky Johanson With Hanukkah Wrap

Taly Friedman Melissa Kingston & Vicky Johanson wrapping gifts for Hanukkah. // Photo courtesy of Ruth Bigus.

While Hanukkah celebrations in Jewish communities in 2020 will be unlike any previous year, the Jewish Family Services of Kansas City is making sure families in the metro will still receive gifts. Every year, J.F.S. holds a Hanukkah Project, where they gather gifts to be distributed to more than 350 KC families that would otherwise go without. This season, the Hanukkah Project will include extra protections for the health and safety for their communities, but will still be spreading holiday cheer.

In years past, J.F.S. rounded up volunteers to buy and then wrap gifts at a large wrapping party, before distributing the gifts to families in-person. This year, the gift-giving will be in a hybrid model with the following protections in place:

  • Online Gift Registries at Target and Amazon allowing recipients to create wish
    lists and donors to “shop” from the safety of their homes
  • Gift Cards in increments of $25 for all adults (18 and older) to increase choice for
    clients and minimize direct contact
  • Rather than a large wrapping party, families will receive wrapping paper and tape
    to wrap gifts for their children
  • Volunteer families are assembling Hanukkah Goody Bags with cards and games
    to distribute to recipients with the Hanukkah packages
  • Contactless Pickup at the Jewish Campus Dec., 7 and 8; and the Brookside office on
    Dec. 9. A small number of volunteers will contactless-ly deliver Hanukkah
    packages to older adults.

Around 350 families will be receiving gifts this year, so there will still be plenty of warmth provided by J.F.S. It is extremely important to think of those in our communities this year, as COVID-19 has devastated families and created, for many, immense financial burden. If you’d like to get involved, you can sign up to be a volunteer or make donations here.

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