December 26, 2023

Dear JFCS Family, 

This is the “giving season!” Normally, I send out a Shabbat Inspiration, but since this is the last week of the year, I decided that we would double the inspiration. Please accept my Shavua Tov message today wishing you a wonderful week ahead and look for my Shabbat Inspiration this Friday.

We often talk about the month of December as the giving season. It is a time when religious and community organizations come together in the “giving spirit.” Social service organizations like JFCS depend on the kindness and support of thousands of people year-round to support those in need. Each year, our community exceeds our expectations when we call upon them for help. 

Over the last three months, it has been a struggle to keep up with the needs of our community. We have persevered and made sure that no person was turned away. We provided food, counseling, case management, and so much more to our community. We only do so with your support. 

We launched our Share the Joy campaign and our Sponsor a Family program in October and worked with our community partners across the region and the country to raise more than $40,000 to distribute gift cards to needy families. This year, more than 738 people in 382 homes received gift cards, allowing them to buy gifts, food, and more for their families during the holiday season. We could not have done this without the support of so many community members and organizations. Hundreds of people donated gift cards and whether they gave $10 or $1,000, their gifts made an enormous difference to our clients. Corporations, organizations, and foundations including Holman Enterprises, the Morrow Foundation, Scrub Daddy, Camden County Bar Association, Elkins Chevrolet, JFCS Past Presidents Circle, Congregation Beth El, Temple Beth Sholom, Adath Emanu-El, Camden County Hadassah, Kellman Brown Academy, Congregation Kol Ami, Wolf Commercial Real Estate, and so many others supported these efforts. We thank them all!

I had the pleasure of taking part in the evening when our staff comes together to organize and distribute the holiday gift cards. It was awe-inspiring to hear the care and compassion displayed by our staff as they discussed and considered the needs of each family. Each person’s circumstances and needs are known to our staff – no different than family members caring for one another. The love and compassion in the room were palpable – and even as we sat distributing support, our staff wanted to do more. 

I’d like to recognize the staff who carry out this huge undertaking. Our Rhona Fischer Family Assistance Program and Project SARAH staff work so hard to support our families in need. Thank you to Meri Seligman, Deena Neuwirth, Cheryl Herzfeld, Lois Forman, Wendy Hernberg, Lisa Fradin, Maria Levin, Hilary Platt, and Marci Rosenstein. Additionally, our administrative team works incredibly hard to raise the necessary support that our clients depend on, including Rachael Satanoff Ovitz, Sherri Jonas, Kelly Guiliano, Lydia Silpe, Tony Saura and of course, our fearless leaders of advancement and programs, Jill Hammel and Meredith Cohen. 

This evening was followed by our annual event, Shop with a Cop. More than ten of our families were able to connect with members of the Cherry Hill Police Department last weekend. Each family was adopted by a police officer and each child received $200 from the Cherry Hill Police Benevolent Association. To see our local children connect with our police force and walk through Target – smiling, talking, laughing, and enjoying their holiday – was enough to fill my heart for the year to come. The children bought gifts for their families, parents, themselves, and even their pets. They often left their own needs to the end of their experience. Officers brought their own families and children to share in this special experience. At the end of the morning, we gathered to celebrate the holiday with a festive lunch and an opportunity for everyone to wrap their gifts and break bread together. Thank you to our Cherry Hill Police Department – your kindness, generosity, and support not only protect us, but allow Cherry Hill and our entire community to be a vibrant and safe place for everyone to live! 

In addition to our Holiday Gift Card Campaign, we thank Betsy and Peter Fischer for their on-going generosity, support, and commitment to support food insecurity across our community. This fall, they pledged a matching gift of up to $18,000 to support the purchase of supermarket gift cards for those families in need. For every dollar we raise, they will match 100% up to $18,000 – helping us raise a total of $36,000 for our community to purchase food. To date, we are half-way to our goal helping our community overcome food insecurity and receive the help they need.  Should you want to contribute to this campaign, it is not too late, as this will be an on-going drive until we hit our goal. For more information, please contact me at or give a gift on-line at Follow the dropdown menu to select Betsy and Peter Fischer Supermarket Gift Card Fund to target your gift.

We truly are one community, and these are just a few examples of the kindness and spirit that make our world a better place! Every day we transform lives, elevate our clients, and help build a better future for our community. We do it together and we thank you enough for making it happen!

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead,

Raechel Hammer