How One Agency Made A Difference For Married Holocaust Survivors

Mrs. F was in her eighties, frail with chronic health problems. She lived with and cared for her husband, who had health issues of his own.

But this married couple was unique — they were Holocaust survivors. 

They had challenges: Mr. F suffered from severe depression. They only spoke Russian. Their ability to access help was limited. 

The vulnerable couple didn’t have family to lean on, as most of their loved ones were lost to the Holocaust, and their daugher was living with her own mental health struggles.

They turned to JFS MetroWest, one of the Holiday Fund partner agencies, and everything changed.

To reduce the burden of care on Mrs. F, the couple began attending a Russian-speaking adult day care unit. 

When Mrs. F needed hearing aids and was prepared to max out her credit cards to acquire them, JFS provided financial assistance. In addition, JFS provides ongoing case management, counseling and support. 

Although the individuals are one-of-a-kind, this story is not unique!  

When you donate to The Holiday Fund, individuals and families gain access to life-changing resources.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You make a donation
  2. Every donation to the Holiday Fund is funneled to ten social service agencies in northern NJ
  3. Our New Jersey neighbors lives are changed

When you contribute to the Holiday Fund, you invest in lives that are often invisible and forgotten.

Give generously today

Newark Day Center helps father while mother and daughter heal

Naomi, Ed and their two daughters are receiving services from Newark Day Center’s parent aid program to improve their household management and the functions of the home.

A parent aide assisted Naomi with becoming self-sufficient and managing the household independently. Newark Day Center also assisted the family with food and supplies for the children, with assessing community resources and ensured that the parents were doing well with the daily parenting functions.

Naomi and her oldest daughter, Nicole, were hit by a car while walking across the street. Both mom and daughter had serious injuries. Nicole had a fractured ankle and was able to heal at home.

Unfortunately, Naomi broke both legs and tested positive for COVID-19 while she was at the hospital. She was admitted into the hospital and spent time there and in a rehabilitation center for about two to four weeks. During this time, Ed was required to complete all household duties while completing his classes.

The family doesn’t have much family support in the area. Considering Ed had a small child and a child with a broken ankle, it was hard to travel and complete daily tasks/errands. The parent aide assisted Ed with the children and the daily household functions. She ensured Nicole was completing her remote learning while Ed was continuing his studies. She assisted with the children in order for their father to be able to complete the laundry and food shopping. With the assistance of the aide in the home, Ed was able to maintain the cleanliness of the home and complete all chores.  Currently, the family is doing well and healthy.

Visit the Greater Newark Holiday Fund on Twitter at twitter.com/HolidayFundNJ, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GreaterNewarkHolidayFund or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/holidayfundnj.

To make a donation, visit holidayfund.org.

What happens after I give?

Do you ever wonder who’s being helped by your donation to a nonprofit, or how it’s impacting lives? 

Donations to the Holiday Fund are distributed to 10 social service agencies during their season of highest need

You’ve probably heard of most of the organizations since their work is touching lives in every corner of the Greater Newark Area, like Children’s Aid and Family Services, Family Service League, Catholic Charities and more

Who is directly impacted by donations to the Holiday Fund?

✅ Displaced families without shelter or basic resources

✅ Victims fleeing unsafe conditions 

✅ Elders in need of specialized care

✅ Children who need critical, life-giving services

✅ Teens who need help achieving their brightest futures

✅ Men, women and children needing mental health services

If you’ve been wanting to find out more about each of our charities, check out this free report. It’s a wonderful guide to our agencies and who they serve.

We hope you’ll check out the work of the Greater Newark Holiday Fund this season and consider supporting all of these local agencies with one easy donation.

Mother hopes to be united with children after struggling with substance abuse

Angela became a client at Family Connections in 2017 after being referred to the agency by New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency to address substance abuse and mental health concerns. Angela has four children who were all removed from her care due to her unstable mental health and ongoing substance abuse issues.

Angela became a part of three programs within Family Connections: Strong Mothers, Home Safe and ReConnections. The primary goals of Angela’s treatment within the three programs were to achieve abstinence, stabilize her mood and alleviate mental health symptoms, secure adequate housing and reunite with her children.

Angela was engaged and cooperative in all programs, attending Strong Mothers groups three times a week, Home Safe groups once per week and visiting her children weekly with ReConnections. She was clearly determined to be a better version of herself and get her children back.

Angela began to make incredible progress. She achieved total abstinence, engaged and cooperated with psychiatric treatment, learned skills to manage mood symptoms and secured adequate housing through the Home Safe program. All of her counselors were very proud.

Angela became hopeful and optimistic about a future for herself and her children for the first time. Through her hard work and determination, after two-and-one-half years of engaging in treatment services, Angela has been reunified with her children. She continues to receive support and therapeutic services from Family Connections, while gaining the tools she needs to eventually be totally self-sufficient.

Visit the Greater Newark Holiday Fund on Twitter at twitter.com/HolidayFundNJ, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GreaterNewarkHolidayFund or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/holidayfundnj.

To make a donation, visit holidayfund.org.

Reflecting On The True Power Of Giving

As the weather turns cold, I can’t help but feel grateful. 

I think about what a hard year it has been for our city, and how the stories of our community have been overshadowed by other major events. 

This year, more than ever, will be a crucial time to lend a hand to those who have fallen on hard times. 

I am reminded of a conversation I had with John Westervelt, CEO of the Catholic Charities (one of our partner organizations), about the people they reach out to everyday:

“They just needed that little helping hand. I tell everybody the same thing. $10, $15 gave that helping hand to someone that just needed a little push to start again.” 

I couldn’t agree more. 

The people of New Jersey are strong. 

With a little kindness from others, we can do so much. 

  • Every year, we see more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds build a good life for themselves
  • We hear of parents and caregivers going above and beyond for their children’s sake
     
  • We witness the transformation of the homeless, the mentally ill and the vulnerable into strong contributing members of society

Through your generosity, you give small but powerful pushes of inspiration. 

From the Greater Newark Holiday Fund team to you, thanks for all the “pushes” you’ve given to our communities. 

It truly has made all the difference.
To donate now, visit holidayfund.org/give. We are grateful for the “pushes,” especially in 2020.

Baby Basics program helps mother care for young son

Still just a baby, Joseph has already faced more challenges than most people do in a lifetime. His mother, Alexis, escaped an abusive relationship during her pregnancy with little more than the clothes on her back. Although Alexis was able to move in with a family member and find a full-time job, she still struggles financially. She now receives free diapers and other baby essentials from Baby Basics, a program of Children’s Aid and Family Services.

Joseph was born five weeks prematurely after Alexis went through an extremely difficult pregnancy. The baby spent one month in the NICU at the hospital and was diagnosed with Bartter Syndrome, a rare disease that affects kidney function.
“Joseph was taking six different prescriptions when he came home and needed to see a kidney specialist several times a month,” Alexis said. “And whenever he ran a fever, I had to take him to the emergency room right away.”

As a result of his condition, Joseph needs frequent diaper changes, which causes even more strain on Alexis’s limited finances.

“Even though I work full time, I was spending almost all of my money on diapers,” Alexis said. “The Baby Basics program has been a big help. I can save some money now and I’m very grateful.”

Alexis works hard to ensure her baby has a good childhood, and she lights up when she talks about him. “He loves playing with animals and toy cars. Despite everything he’s gone through, Joseph is the happiest baby. When he smiles, everyone feels better,” she said.

Children’s Aid and Family Services is able to provide free diapers and other baby essentials to low-income families in northern New Jersey because of the generosity of the Greater Newark Holiday Fund.

Visit the Greater Newark Holiday Fund on Twitter at twitter.com/HolidayFundNJ, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GreaterNewarkHolidayFund or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/holidayfundnj.

To make a donation, visit holidayfund.org.

Sexual assault victim finds help from Family Service League

Brenda, a 21-year-old college freshman, recently moved from Ohio to New Jersey for her first year of college. She struggled being away from her family and often felt isolated and alone.

She did not frequent local bars, however, she accepted an invitation by her classmates to have a few drinks to celebrate the end of the semester. At 4 a.m. Brenda woke up in her apartment feeling very sick, was partially dressed, and had no recollection of the events of the evening. Feeling scared and confused, she sought help at a local hospital. When Brenda arrived at the hospital, Family Service League’s Confidential Sexual Assault Advocate was dispatched to accompany the survivor through the forensic medical examination.

Brenda was also able to speak to the advocate privately about her concerns about what may have transpired the prior evening. Brenda felt confused, scared, and blamed herself for not being more careful when she was drinking at the bar.

The advocate provided Brenda with information/referrals to local support services and explained her rights and options that she had as a survivor. With the support of the advocate, Brenda consented to the sexual assault forensic examination, which included a toxicology test. The advocate held her hand throughout the entire exam. The advocate also provided Brenda with a change of clothes, undergarments, and something to eat.

At this time, Brenda chose not to report the incident to the police, but Brenda was made aware that she can make a police report at a later time.

Brenda was grateful that she had the support of the advocate and that she felt believed. The care and support of an advocate is essential to support the recovery and healing process for all survivors of sexual assault.

Visit the Greater Newark Holiday Fund on Twitter at twitter.com/HolidayFundNJ, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GreaterNewarkHolidayFund or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/holidayfundnj.

To make a donation, visit holidayfund.org.

And We’re Off — The Giving Season is Officially Here

We kicked off the Giving Season officially last night, and even though we weren’t able to be in person this year, it was a wonderful time of discussion and celebration as we talked about making a difference in New Jersey together.

We were honored to be joined by Greg T from 103.5 KTU. His partnership as we kicked off gave the evening new energy and celebration.

We hope you are as excited as we are to make a difference where it counts in 2020!

Up next — #GivingTuesday — less than three weeks away!

Greater Newark Children Find Hope & Freedom Through Generosity

At summer camp, Niyea and Naziah traded cement for trees, and fear of unsafe encounters for fear of scraped knees.

On the daily bus ride to camp, the girls enjoyed seeing ponds and farm animals in fields. Once there, they could be found bike riding, swimming, playing games, performing drama, music, and more. 

These aren’t common scenes when you live in the urban environment of northern New Jersey, where almost 30% of the households are at or below the poverty level, and gun violence is a common occurrence

Mom, Janet, was thrilled for her young girls to get a break from the city, a chance to live without worries about their surroundings. Janet had fond memories of childhood camp but knew her income wasn’t enough. She was thrilled when Newark Day Center offered her children a camp scholarship, courtesy of the generous Fresh Air Fund.

When donors support the Holiday Fund, they are actually supporting 10 different agencies in the Greater Newark Area; agencies that have spent hundreds of years of combined service to the children and families of the community. Services like:

  • A landing space for teens to receive education support, peer support, and community exposure, supported by Family Connections. Kids love the chance to get out of the city and hike in a state park for the first time, or see a show on Broadway!
  • An exciting online coding class for young people of Newark, developed by the Urban League of Essex County
  • Saturday Fun Club of the New Community Corporation engages children ages 5 to 12 while providing a safe and nurturing environment.

Every time a donor gives to the Holiday Fund, these organizations receive support. Every donation is distributed among 10 NJ agencies, who work tirelessly to serve the most at-risk and disadvantaged lives in their community.

donation means more kids attend summer camp, more young people enroll in a coding class, and more teens have a safe place to hang out after school. 

Through your generosity, Greater Newark children find hope and freedom. We hope you’ll donate today.

How generosity helps young adults in New Jersey reach their goals

For many of the youth in northern New Jersey, one misstep can turn into a major detour. 

Though making mistakes is part of growing up, for disadvantaged youth who do not have support and safety nets available, those missteps can be tragic.

That’s where community support comes in. 

Life-affirming programs, run by seasoned professionals from reputable organizations (like those we partner with at the Holiday Fund) have hundreds of years of combined experience serving the youth and young adults of northern New Jersey communities

Let me share a few of the exciting ways these service agencies connect youth with necessary resources:

  • Teens and older adults pursue education by attending a GED preparation class at the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark.
  • Young adults who previously have been involved in the court system gather and receive prevention and transition services at Urban League of Essex County’s Face Forward Urban Youth Empowerment Program. prevention, assessment, intervention, and transition services
  • Students 16 and older prepare for their futures by attending class at New Community Corporation’s Adult Learning Center, where more than 2,000 individuals are pursuing a vocational or college education. 

We celebrate with the young people who are receiving assistance and creating a safety net of their own, thanks to these experienced agencies. 

When you support the Holiday Fund, you contribute to agencies like these who support youth at every turn. 

We live in one of the most affluent communities in the world, and our youth shouldn’t have to miss out on opportunities to build a secure future for themselves. Youth in New Jersey shouldn’t live disadvantaged and vulnerable lives today. 

Let’s celebrate together the achievement of youth receiving help and support. 

P.S. If you want to support the Holiday Fund, you don’t have to wait until the holidays. Though we do the majority of our fundraising during that season, we welcome donations at any time of year.