From Woodstock to a man on the moon, 1969 was an eventful year with many historic and memorable moments. In Highland Park, NJ, a small committee started Jewish Family Services of Northern Middlesex County to offer services to members of the Jewish community in need or in crisis, serving 100 clients in its first year.
As needs grew in the area, a small group formed Jewish Family Services of Southern Middlesex County. Incorporated in 1980, the agency was later renamed Jewish Family and Vocational Service of Middlesex County (JFVS). In 2006, the two agencies merged to create a county-wide agency to provide services to all members of the community regardless of race, ethnic origin or religion.
In the 1980s, the JFS office, now open for 56 hours/week, expanded to a growing staff of five to handle the newly received Kosher Meals on Wheels grant and resettlement program for families from the former Soviet Union.
In the 1990s, services expanded to include career services, special assistance for Holocaust survivors and adult day programs. JFS expanded the resettlement program for Russian refugees and began the Friendly Visitor program, a volunteer effort to bring companionship to the homebound elderly.
With the start of the new century, JFS launched CAMEO, a twice a week socialization and nutrition program for seniors. The Holocaust Program expanded to help survivors file claims with the German Government. JFS held a grand opening for the new Edison office and the Senior Medicare Patrol program for New Jersey was awarded to JFS for the first time. After 9/11, calls to JFS more than doubled for help and the agency was granted a full license for outpatient services for counseling.
JFS services and programs continue to grow. Last year, JFS provided 28,158 home delivered meals, 89,329 home care hours to Holocaust survivors, 4,199 emergency food bags, 3,499 counseling hours, 4,126 hours of assistance and training by the Women’s/Career Centers and 1,331 clients served by Immigration and Refugee Services.
In June of 2019, JFS celebrated 50 years of service with a Gala attended by more than 225 people. We want to thank everyone who attended, contributed, and helped in honor of Jewish Family Services’ 50 years of service to the community. The 50th Anniversary One Community Gala was a spectacular night and we thank all of you for your continued support of JFS as we begin our next fifty years of service.