Jewish Family Service is celebrating its 150th anniversary of caring for all Utahns. Whether it’s a recently arrived refugee, a transgender teen, a single mom who cannot afford diapers, a frail senior, or a family living in their car, JFS provides help to anyone who needs it…regardless of religious affiliation.
Since 1872, this nondenominational agency has served the most vulnerable in the community by helping people who are in a rough spot in their lives maintain stability and independence. “At JFS, our goal has always been to provide the necessary support and skills to empower a person or a family to create a vibrant, connected, and sustainable community,” said Ellen Silver, Executive Director. “We are thrilled for our 150th celebration and look forward to continuing on for the next 150 years.”
JFS of Utah started 24 years before Utah’s statehood as the Hebrew Women’s Benevolent Society. Through 150 years, and one name change, Jewish Family Service has continued the work of these founding women. Whether offering affordable mental health counseling in both Spanish and English, granting emergency funds to families facing homelessness and other devastating crises, providing resources and comfort to older adults and their caregivers, or stocking our food bank to keep Utah families fed, JFS provides a comprehensive and holistic system of care for the many needs of its clients.
“As we head into our 150th anniversary year, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has put their heart, soul, effort, and good work into our beloved JFS to make our community and our world a better place,” said Darcy Amiel, current Board of Directors President.
Since the pandemic began, JFS has been able to distribute over $1.8 million in emergency assistance to people in crisis. This aid translates to over 3,800 individuals and families who have been able to remain in their homes, rather than end up displaced or homeless. Through its Alex and Sally Lebwohl Food Pantry, JFS has safely provided food to thousands of people in the community, and has provided much needed and prohibitively expensive items such as diapers, baby food, and feminine hygiene products.