JFCS of the Suncoast will pay tribute to the people and events that define its unique and proud history during a 35th Anniversary celebration at Michael’s On East in Sarasota, on Sun., Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. The event is being co-chaired by retired JFCS President/CEO Rose Chapman and former Board member Stan Rutstein and his wife Jo Rutstein. JFCS has consistently been there to help people in times of need for over three decades,” stated Chapman. “The organization has provided support and comfort to tens of thousands of people in the past and continues to do so today.” Tickets are available and may be purchased on the JFCS website (jfcs-cares.org/35anniv/).
JFCS has significantly impacted the Sarasota community since its humble beginnings in the 1970’s. A group of volunteers, who were predominantly retired social workers, began to provide social services to seniors. However, after quickly recognizing the urgent need to not only support seniors, but also veterans and vulnerable youth and families, JFCS was officially founded as a family service agency in 1986. Since then, JFCS has implemented numerous programs and services that have promoted self-sufficiency and stability among all people, regardless of their religious affiliation.
In the 1990’s, JFCS established a Children and Adolescents Department and launched a major capital campaign to construct a permanent location for its administrative offices. The result was the Goldie Feldman Building located on The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg campus on Fruitville Road in Sarasota. JFCS continued to expand in the 21st century with the dedication of the Schoenbaum Family Life Center, also located on Fruitville Road, and the Gloria & Louis Flanzer Campus on Ringling Boulevard. Both offices have dedicated meeting space for staff to provide mental health counseling.
Today, JFCS empowers over 5,000 individuals and families annually through free and affordable community initiatives such as Camp Mariposa® Sarasota, the Ignite Fatherhood Program, the REACH Healthy Marriage Program, a variety of veterans, homeless prevention and aging services, and mental health counseling.
Also, JFCS has met the challenges to continue and expand its service offerings to those who have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes:
•Raising and providing over $600,000 to individuals and families who needed financial assistance to pay their rent, utilities, car repairs, and food.
•A partnership with The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee to organize an Afghan refugee resettlement relief donation drive.
•A partnership with various churches and non-profit organizations in Sarasota County and Manatee County to distribute 1,800 free meals.
•Free mental health counseling to healthcare workers who are employed at hospitals in Sarasota County and Manatee County.
About JFCS: Celebrating its 35th year as one of the Florida Suncoast’s leading mental health and human services agencies, JFCS offers programs that support youth, families, seniors and veterans. Inspired by the Jewish tradition of helping all people, services are delivered on a non-denominational basis and with the goal of empowering individuals and families to self-sufficiency and stability. JFCS of the Suncoast believes all people are to be treated with dignity and respect and have equal opportunity to physical well-being, self-expression and joy. For more information, visit https://JFCS-Cares.org/ or call (941) 366-2224.