Lighting the Way – 18 Years of Chai Impact

2024 is the 18th, or Chai anniversary of our most significant fundraiser, JFS Innovators. In that time, the event has raised over $5 million to support vital JFS programs and initiatives for thousands of individuals and families.

As we prepare to welcome attendees to this year’s event, we pause to celebrate the many innovations and achievements that have been made possible thanks to the commitment and generosity of all those who have contributed to JFS Innovators over the years.

18 Years, 18 Highlights

  1. Our Home Support Program started over 15 years ago with just one worker and a small group of clients. Today, we are proud to have grown into a program that helps approximately 450 older adults and people with disabilities each year. Our dedicated staff, now numbering between 60 and 70, have earned a fantastic reputation and receive referrals from various sources, including health authorities and social workers.
  1. The Claims Conference has been a vital part of our work at JFS for the past 6 years. In that time, we have seen a significant increase in funding, from $300,000 annually to $1.3 million, to support Holocaust survivors in aging with dignity at home.
  1. In 2020, we launched our Thriving Seniors program, developed from the ground up with a focus on engaging older adults. This included creating a Seniors Leadership Team and various outreach programs that offer meaningful opportunities for participation.
  1. Our Intern Therapy Service has been an incredible success. We provide high-quality therapy services to marginalized individuals, reducing barriers to counselling with the help of our senior clinicians and university partnerships. Our interns also receive 8 months of valuable clinical training.
  1. The opening of The Kitchen in April 2021 has had a huge impact on food security in our community. This incredible space serves as a home for our grocery program and a commercial kitchen for our meals program. Before this, we operated a pop-up food bank at the Peretz Centre and had to outsource our meals delivery program. The Kitchen is also home to our community kitchen programs, which teaches new skills and recipes in a warm friendly environment–bonding over food is a great way to make new friends!
  1. Our commitment to a Healthy Food Policy has also had a significant impact on food security. Our grocery program is a Community Food Centres Canada Good Food Organization partner. This means that we provide nutritious healthy foods in a dignified manner to our grocery program clients.
  1. We are proud to have formed local partnerships with organizations such as Hebrew Free Loan Association of Vancouver, Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, JCC of Greater Vancouver, West End Seniors Network, and many local food hubs. These collaborations have enabled us to expand our impact with a wide variety of programs to meet the needs of our community.
  1. A major milestone for our agency was securing a permanent home. After renovations are completed, the 20,000-square-foot building will offer the necessary space and infrastructure for all of JFS’ social service offerings. Services to be offered from the new location will include case management, housing advocacy, clinical counselling, and meals from a commercial Kosher-certified Pareve kitchen.
  1. At JFS, we pride ourselves on our adaptability and ability to respond to changing needs. This includes creating the care line, shifting our programs to address new needs such as settlement support, and offering Hanukkah and holiday programs.
  1. The launch of the Vancouver Jewish Community Garden in partnership with Congregation Beth Israel and Vancouver Talmud Torah has been a source of pride for our organization, providing fresh produce for our clients and bringing the community together through volunteer opportunities.
  1. Our Food Security Task Force has tremendously impacted our work. This group has helped us open The Kitchen and led to educational programs, community kitchens, and a breakfast club. We are honored to have received a City of Vancouver “Healthy City for All” award for our efforts.
  1. We are proud to have established a Client Advisory Committee, ensuring that the voices of our clients are heard and valued.
  1. Our Jewish Housing Registry has been an essential service for individuals seeking affordable housing options.
  1. Our strategic partnership with the LGBTQ2SIA+ community and JQT Vancouver has been a source of pride for our organization. Together, we have been able to offer the Twice Blessed program, providing support and resources for LGBTQ+ individuals and families.
  1. We are honored to have collaborated with Tikva Housing Society to prevent homelessness through our Housing Care Manager program.
  1. Our Low-Cost Therapy Clinic was established after a study revealed the need for affordable therapy services in our community. By reducing fees, we have been able to break down barriers and provide much-needed support.
  1. JFS is proud to be one of the United Way BC Better at Home program providers, offering support and services to older adults in our community.
  1. Our Poverty Alleviation initiatives, such as our tax clinic education, have been crucial in helping marginalized individuals and families.

Please join us for Innovators 2024

Our Chai anniversary celebration will be an extraordinary cocktail reception that promises to be an unforgettable evening of mingling, reconnecting with friends, making new connections, and supporting the impactful work of JFS.

Date: May 28, 2024
Time: 6PM – 9PM
Location: D6 Bar and Lounge (Parq Vancouver)

Learn more or purchase your tickets online.

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