By Sharon Wisch-Ray
Jewish Children’s Regional Service Assists Over Jewish Youth in 2015
I have known quite a few people who have benefited from the amazing services of Jewish Children’s Regional Service. The late Helen Shapiro was a resident of The Children’s Home in New Orleans, which eventually became JCRS. She often regaled me with stories of growing up there.
The calendar year 2015 has not ended, but Jewish Children’s Regional Service is already on a pace to serve over 1,500 Jewish youth in seven states of the Midsouth in 2015.
Youth in 200 communities in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas receive assistance each year.
Many of the programs offered by JCRS, such as special needs scholarships, Hanukkah gifts, and outreach programs are unique, and not offered by other Jewish social service organizations. Eligibility for all of the scholarship programs is based on documented, financial need.
This December, over 200 Jewish youth and 30 state hospital residents from the region will each receive a bag of eight Hanukkah gifts. Each bag contains gifts that were selected, individually wrapped, and shipped by volunteers and staff of the 156-year-old agency. The youth who received these gifts were either ongoing clients of JCRS, whose needs are known to the JCRS on an ongoing basis, or new clients referred by local rabbis and Jewish Family Service agencies.
Families who reside in the region can register for gifts now, but they must act quickly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be sent a registration form for each child in the family. Gifts are age- and gender-specific, and the form contains a place for children to list their interests.
During 2015, 900 Jewish youth, ages eight and under, will receive free monthly books from JCRS under the PJ Library Program, a national outreach program that brings literacy and Jewish learning into family life.
Approximately 70 dependent and special needs youth are being funded or served through the efforts of the JCRS Case Committee, while the JCRS studied the needs of other Jewish youth for whom case plans and funding are pending.
Over the summer of 2015, JCRS funded 316 Jewish campers, who annually attend 35-45 different Jewish, nonprofit overnight camps across the United States. Financial aid is being provided to approximately 120 college students during 2015, and these students attended undergraduate programs throughout the U.S. as well.
Funds to support the annual budget of JCRS come primarily from large and small contributions from individuals, families and foundations, and the annual income derived when a family starts a scholarship fund at the agency.
To learn more about the oldest Jewish children’s agency in the United States, visit the website, www.jcrs.org; call the office at 1-800-729-5277; or write to JCRS, P.O. Box 7368, Metairie, LA 70010-7368.