With an early Chanukah, Hag Sameach continues to make huge impact thanks to referrals and volunteers

Hag Sameach volunteers Cym and Audrey Kibort

With Chanukah arriving early this year, just on the heels of Thanksgiving – and the continued challenge of operating while following COVID safety protocols – JFCS’ Hag Sameach program once again made a huge impact in the community during the 2021 winter holiday season.

The Hag Sameach (Happy Holidays) program ensures joyous holiday celebrations for families and individuals in need by providing them with gifts and ritual items. Each year, hundreds of individuals and families are served thanks to the generosity and dedication of our donors, volunteers, and referrals from professional and community leaders.

“I am about to burst! We just got the gifts and it is overwhelmingly generous. My menorah is gorgeous and the gift cards are going to be so helpful to us. Thank you so much for all the gifts – the dogs got to their gift before I could even undo them! We are just so excited. What an awesome Chanukah this is! Thank you Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis so much!” – 2021 Hag Sameach recipient

This year, Hag Sameach:

  • Received 400 referrals for individuals and families, group homes, local hospitals and Sholom from JFCS case managers, synagogues, community organizations and hospitals, representing almost 700 people
  • Of these, 27% of the recipients were under age 18 and 24% were age 65 and older; 69% of the recipients were Jewish, an increase of 5% over 2020
  • Provided nine Adopt A Family matches, where referred families with higher needs for essentials received specially purchased gifts from donors that wanted to establish a deeper connection with a family in making a difference for the holidays
  • Collaborated with community organizations Minnesota Hillel, Adath Jeshurun’s young adult group, Makom, JFCS NextGen, Camp TEKO, Camp Olami, Harry Kay Leadership Institute, PJ Library, SAEPi, Women Repair the World (Minneapolis Jewish Federation), BOND, Temple Israel Early Childhood Center, handsandmittens.org, and Beth El Aleph Preschool
  • Filled 200 volunteer shifts, including gift organizing and assembly, gift selection, gift wrapping, delivery, and Russian-speaking interpretation
Hag Sameach volunteers Daniel, Jennifer, Zoey and Raina Tenenbaum (from left)

“I just wanted to say how impressed I continue to be with the Hag Sameach team. As always, the process worked very smoothly. An impactful experience we had this year was when we dropped gifts to someone, who herself, was getting ready to go feed the homeless. A great example of paying it forward!” – 2021 Hag Sameach volunteer

For more information on the Hag Sameach program click here, email Mindy Teele at mteele@jfcsmpls.org or call 952-546-0616.