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Gifts to struggling families have a value far beyond monetary worth

This time of year, we give many gifts to family, friends and neighbors, but the gifts that often bring the greatest pleasure are those to children and families of our Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry, the refugee department at Jewish Family & Children’s Service and Family Hope Connection, the adoption division of JF&CS. Items donated to these programs have a value far beyond their monetary worth.

Please help us bring the light of Hanukkah and the spirit of the holiday season to the families in our community that are struggling to put food on their tables, to refugees who arrive in Pittsburgh with only the clothing they are wearing and to the children our staff at Family Hope Connection work with all year round.

As the holidays approach, SHCFP is in need of special items including sauerkraut and also cooking oil for cooking and lighting menorahs. If you are able to donate any of the requested items, if you would like to donate other items such as toys or gifts for our clients’ children or if you would like to hold a holiday food drive to benefit the Pantry, please contact Kathy Poth, SHCFP Coordinator at 412.421.2708 or by email at kpoth@sqfoodpantry.org.

Many refugee families are arriving to Pittsburgh from tropical climates, and they have never experienced winter as we know it in Pittsburgh. Outerwear, winter coats, hats, scarves, gloves, sweaters and blankets are greatly needed and much-appreciated items in helping our community’s newest arrivals acclimate to the cold winter weather. Clothing items of various sizes in good condition would be welcome.

The refugee department also seeks specific small household items to help refugees feel at home in their new apartments. If you find yourself re-decorating your home at any time during the year, please consider donating household items such as pots, pans, glasses and utensils. Your donations will be greatly appreciated and well-used. To donate to our refugee department or for a list of most-needed items for refugee families, please contact Catrina Doxsee at 412.904.5970 or by email at cdoxsee@jfcspgh.org.

At our Family Hope Connection, where staff work with children in foster care and those who are awaiting permanent placement, playhouses are often used as therapeutic tools to help children understand and discuss feelings related to their family dynamics. Toy items appropriate for playhouses, such as small figurines depicting various family members, would be greatly appreciated. FHC would also benefit from items such as small children’s toys and stuffed animals to be given to children to help ease household transitions. Additionally, giftcards to stores such as Target or Barnes & Noble are much appreciated and allow staff to purchase books depicting various interpretations of family life and other needed items to help children with their transitions, such as suitcases or personal items. To donate or learn more about how to support the work of FHC, please contact JoAnn White, director, at 412-422-8567 or jwhite@fhcadopt.org.

On behalf of all of our staff at JF&Cs and our departments, we are so grateful for the many gifts of volunteer time, money and donated items that enable us to provide services to the community, especially during the holidays.

Wishing a happy holiday season to all of our wonderful supporters!