JF&CS Lunch Raises Almost $400,000

JF&CS Lunch Raises Almost $400,000

David R. Cohen

David R. Cohen is the former Associate Editor of the Atlanta Jewish Times. He is originally from Marietta, GA and studied Journalism at the University of Tennessee.

Above: JF&CS CEO Rick Aranson addresses the large crowd at the 10th annual Community of Caring luncheon (Photo courtesy Paula Gould Photography).

Jewish Family & Career Services raised nearly $400,000 at its 10th annual Community of Caring luncheon Friday, May 13, at the InterContinental Buckhead.

The event is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser and helps JF&CS offer programs, services and resources to people of all faiths, cultures and ages in metro Atlanta.

“The vision of JF&CS,” CEO Rick Aranson told the crowd of nearly 700 people, “is to build a community of empowered lives. Our mission, how we reach that vision and what we do every day is making hope and opportunity happen.”

Aranson then introduced some real-life examples of the work of JF&CS, starting with a compelling and emotional account by Eric Miller of his struggle with addiction and recovery. Miller is the program coordinator for JF&CS’ HAMSA, or Helping Atlantans Manage Substance Abuse, a comprehensive substance abuse program for the Jewish community.

After Miller spoke, five other stories of people JF&CS has helped were shown:

  • Lori and David — Lori Berger and David Bryan are a married couple with developmental disabilities who met in Israel in the late 1990s. JF&CS helps them with transportation and budgeting and recently helped them move into a new apartment in Atlanta. The organization also helps them with supported employment and they participate in the Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program.
  • Maxine and Roy — Since 1984, Maxine and Roy Stokes have lived in Atlanta. When Roy needed assistance because of a breathing disorder that made it difficult for him to walk, JF&CS donated a mobility scooter and assisted with caregiver services.
  • Kesavi — Facing unemployment, Kesavi Miller went to JF&CS for financial assistance and found out that the organization also offers a full-service career counseling and job placement service. She began attending JF&CS interviewing and résumé workshops and was eventually hired by the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.
  • Elissa and Talli — After Talli Hershkovitz’s parents divorced when she was 6, her mother enrolled her in the JF&CS PAL program, Atlanta’s only Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister program. She was matched with Elissa Fladell, and the two have remained close ever since. Both have moved on to volunteer in other JF&CS initiatives.
  • Merle — After her teeth became badly misaligned because of an addiction to crack cocaine, Merle Deadwyler visited the JF&CS-run Ben Massell Dental Clinic for a complete dental reconstruction. After she got her smile back, Merle returned to singing in her church choir for the first time in three years.

Note: See their stories at YTFL.org/impact 

After the videos, Merle, brandishing a bright-white smile, sang for the crowd and received a standing ovation.

Photos by David R. Cohen (except where otherwise noted)

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