Creating meaning and purpose in the New Year

“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” – Mitch Albom, author of “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”

We’ve always known that Pittsburgh is an incredibly giving, philanthropic city. Every day, dedicated community members devote themselves to very worthy causes like JF&CS. During the holiday season, the outpouring of community largesse is even richer. This year, several very generous local businesses and organizations devoted their time and efforts to raising funds or goods for JF&CS, including:

  • My Little Outback owners Todd and Erin Schachter organized a toy drive to benefit the children of refugee families resettled by JF&CS. When refugees come to America, they typically come with little more than the clothes on their backs and a limited understanding of America’s vast and complex culture. From the moment JF&CS staff and volunteers meet them at the airport and take them to the apartments they’ve established for them, we work tirelessly to help refugee families successfully resettle in our community.
  • Hillel JUC, Rodef Shalom Congregation, the JCC South Hills and Hillel Academy also held toy drives, but for our Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry households with children. The unexpected gifts from these toy drives were greeted with glee by the children and gratitude by their parents and are yet more examples of our extraordinarily caring community.
  • ‎Animal Friends donated 745 pounds of Chow Wagon pet food to the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry. Pet food can be expensive, and for families who are already struggling to afford food for themselves, providing for their furry friends can be difficult. With the help of Animal Friends, clients with pets can take cat or dog food while shopping for their own groceries.  In addition to the bi-monthly donation of 245 pounds, Halo Pet Food gave another 500 pounds of pet food this year!
  • Chabad House at the University of Pittsburgh, together with AEPi fraternity, arranged the second annual Canorah display in the William Pitt Student Union. Students raised funds to purchase 300 industrial-sized cans of food they used to construct a menorah, and then donated their can struction menorah to the Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry at Chanukah’s end.  In November, the Food Pantry served a record, 21,150 pounds of a food. Donations like this enable us to meet the needs of households that face food insecurity, a number that is steadily rising.

This list is by no means exhaustive – we are eternally grateful for the many gifts of volunteer time, money and goods that came our way this holiday season.  We hope you also will keep JF&CS in mind throughout the year as there is an incredible amount of need all 365 days of the year.  Every one of us at JF&CS is committed to improving lives — every day, for every client — and we thank you for helping us to deliver on that promise.

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