Writing year-end letters is one of my favorite activities each year. It always amazes me how much we accomplish in a normal year, however, in this 2020 year, a year in which the pandemic governed our practice, I am even happier to share with you, a quick month-by-month behind-the-scenes glimpse at how we reacted to the hand we were dealt and what your generosity has helped make possible.
January – Upgrades were made to the IT system; new servers and a new phone system were installed. An emergency preparedness manual was created, and all staff participated in Magen David Adom’s First 7 Minutes; an approach to basic triage techniques to be used in case of an emergency or mass casualty incident. The concept of the Memory Care Program was born, a fund development strategy was developed, and the Innoweave process which focused on identifying JFSC impacts in the community wrapped up.
February – JFSC joined the Seniors Community Consultation group in partnership with Alberta Health Services. This group’s focus was to find out from communities what they identified as gaps in service to seniors. By identifying those gaps, JFSC could better meet the needs of the community and offer programming to better meet seniors’ needs. The concept of Safta’s Kitchen was born.
March – CARF accreditation was awarded to JFSC for our Home Support program, Resettlement and Integration, Older Adults, Shalom Bayit, Basic Needs and our Volunteer Program. Accreditation demonstrates that our organization has opened its service delivery and business processes to outside scrutiny to improve the quality of our programs. JFSC was measured on 1009 standards and of the 1009 standards we received eight recommendations which were addressed in June of 2020.
April - The Mental Health Support line was launched to support community members affected by the pandemic. A partnership between JFSC and the Community Kitchen’s Spinz program was formed. This partnership enabled us to meet the significant increase in demand for food support throughout the city of Calgary and to support other not for profit community organizations.
May – The Memory Care program was launched as was the Senior Mental Health and Addictions Response team. Additionally, almost three months into the pandemic, we noticed that many of our clients whose files had already been closed, were reaching out for help; a 14% increase in after care clients.
June - Cowboys & Cocktails – a fundraising event to honour the memory of Sam Ousher Switzerz”l took place. This event was initially planned to be an in-person fundraiser but because of the pandemic, it was turned into an online event. “The party can wait, but the needs of the community cannot”. That’s what Sam would have said so we listened, and it was a WOW!
July – JFSC provided 401 COVID Safety kits to the community. The breakdown was as follows: 3401 masks, 244 bottles of hand sanitizer and 6400 pairs of gloves. Additionally, JFSC provided 263 clients with homecare cleaning kits.
August - If we could have, we would have. That is to say, gather together to play in the 5th Annual Martin, Staniloff and Thal Charity Golf Classic. But, unprecedented, uncertain, COVID-19, pandemic – those were the words in the air that prompted us to make the tough decision to cancel the tournament as the safety of the golfers and the volunteers was top of mind. This was the bad news. The good news is that you are invited to Save the Date for next year – August 19, 2021.
– What do Eli Wiesel, Rosa Parks and Terry Fox have in common? They all did one thing different, and you can to. You have the power to do something, one thing, different. That was the focus of a new agency video
that launched in September. A video to bring awareness about a few of the programs being offered at JFSC and an invitation to join us and keep changing the world!
October – The launch of Safta’s Kitchen took place- a program centered on building connections through food and nourishing the soul through relationships. Keep your eyes open for ways to participate! A partnership was struck between Primary Care Networks/Acute Care and JFSC- supporting clients transitioning from hospital setting to the community.
November - Saw the launch of the Family Enrichment program. This program brought together our basic needs, resettlement, financial coaching, and community education with additions of employment support and home visitation for families. Our goal is to enrich the lives of our most vulnerable in the community by providing access to critical resources, tools to improve family wellbeing, empower clients to achieve their self-determined goals, offer advocacy and emotional support.
December – As always, this years Toy drive and Holiday Gift delivery for our clients was a huge success. Our staff and volunteers worked hard to connect with our community and spread the joy to all.
Hindsight, they say, is 20/20. How ironic is it that in the year, 2020, the world as we knew it ground to a halt and gave us pause to re-evaluate and reimagine who we are, how we work and play? This quick overview of the past year touches on some of the agency highlights and programs you helped us provide. We look back at this strange and wondrous year and we know that we are living through a time where adversity has allowed us to grow and respond to the needs of the community, and we have shown the importance of tenacity, perseverance, resilience, and innovation. More than anything, 2020 has been the year where we came to know what it means to truly appreciate everything we have; our donors, funders, volunteers, staff, and clients who have walked along with us as we enrich lives and strengthen communities.
We are proud of all of that we accomplished and achieved during a time when much of the world had slowed down and, in many situations, shut down completely. So, what can you look forward to in 2021, you ask? Well, next year will see JFSC celebrating its 60th anniversary so stay tuned for details about what we have in store for you.
Thank you all for enriching the lives of our clients and for the part you play in strengthening our organization and community.
In the meantime, let us welcome 2021 with hope in our hearts for health and happiness for all.
Stay safe and be well.
Fund Development Team Lead