Helping Greater New Haven’s Hungry

Jewish Family Services has been providing social services to residents of all faiths and backgrounds in New Haven County and throughout Connecticut since 1881.

Children in New Haven are going hungry. According to findings from Feeding America, nearly 1 out of 5 children living in New Haven County are food insecure. Jewish Family Service of New Haven (JFS) has increased their food assistance program to address this troubling concern.

It is not a new focus for the organization, which has been providing social services to residents in New Haven County and throughout Connecticut since 1881. However, with the help of a $60,000 multi-year grant from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, JFS is able to expand its Food Pantry and Nutritional Health Clinic to serve more of those in need while offering a wider variety of nutritious, fresh foods.

JFS endeavors to help anyone in need of support, serving individuals of all faiths and backgrounds. Their Food Pantry provides more than 300 families with monthly food assistance amounting to more than 10,000 lbs. of food.

Students of Gateway Community College's Nutrition and Dietetics Program advise Jewish Family Services clients on ways to eat healthy on a budget. Photo courtesy of Jewish Family Services.

In addition, given the vital importance of nutrition for children, JFS (in partnership with Women's Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven) began offering the Food4Kids program in the fall of 2013. The program, which has received support from donor-advised funds at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, provides backpacks filled with food and snacks so that children who receive supplemental nutrition through school do not go hungry on the weekends.

Another partnership with Gateway Community College has enabled JFS to offer nutritional guidance as well. Recently students from the College's Nutrition and Dietetics program developed presentations and advised JFS clients on ways to eat healthy on a budget, along with tips for managing various health concerns through nutrition.

JFS's programs have been vital in addressing the immediate needs of our most vulnerable residents, including not only children but also the elderly, and the demands for aid continue to grow.

"In the past year we provided assistance to over 9,500 individuals," says Executive Director, Jonathan Garfinkle. "That is a 12% increase over last year." As such, many of JFS's services include counseling and education aimed at empowering people to support themselves during these challenging times.

"We want to be there for the emergency needs of the community, but our ultimate goal is to help people grow to support themselves."

In addition to their food assistance programs, the organization provides comprehensive social services including mental health counseling, adoption, and foster care services, support groups, domestic violence services, employment assistance, elder adult services, and more.

If you would like to support this longstanding organization, please visit the Jewish Family Service of New Haven® page.

Did You Know?

According to the USDA "food security" is when, "people have access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. At a minimum, this includes 1) readily available, nutritionally adequate, and safe foods, and 2) assured ability to acquire personally acceptable foods in a socially acceptable way."

Source: Hunger & Food Security Programs; United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

For more information about hunger in Greater New Haven, read The Community Foundation's issue brief Hunger: A Growing Problem