Giving thanks and giving back are important parts of this time of year. This morning I had a discussion with our staff regarding the challenges we face today and the progress we have made. It was sad to hear that the flow of people turning to JF&CS for the basics of life is growing faster than we have seen in many years: jobs, shelter, food, transportation, safety and health issues are confronting more and more families than ever. But it was heartwarming and gratifying to know that our staff has gone above and beyond to respond to these urgent needs.
We constantly are exploring new ways to reach out to our community. Our Career Development Center has collaborated with Community College of Allegheny County to bring basic computer training right into our office; our older adult’s department has launched a new initiative though our AgeWell Pittsburgh partnership to bring volunteers into the lives of isolated seniors, providing companionship and transportation for needed outings; the JF&CS refugee program has expanded services greatly to help resettle people in Pittsburgh who previously were languishing in refugee camps with no hope for their future; SOS Pittsburgh is preparing an initiative to reach out and inform more people about this crisis management program that can save families at risk of falling through the safety net; and last but not least, the new Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry has launched a bold expansion to serve hundreds of additional families over the coming years.
We are all thankful that we have these wonderful opportunities to reach out and give back to our community. We are especially thankful that over the past few years we have seen an outpouring of support from our donors, volunteers and funding organizations. And for this, we are deeply grateful to you. Without your help, we would not be able to address these ever-growing challenges.
In this spirit, we hope that part of your family discussion during the Thanksgiving holiday will be the importance of supporting causes that are near and dear to your hearts. This time of year presents the ideal opportunity to make an annual gift, to honor loved ones by making tribute gifts or resolving to volunteer your time. Because, as we all know, nothing feels better or shows your holiday spirit more than giving and helping others.
From our JF&CS family to yours – wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!