Jewish Family Services Teams Up with the Town of West Hartford to ‘Rise Against Hunger’

From left: David Rosenthal, Event Co-Chair; Judy Rosenthal, Event Co-Chair; Lee Gold, newly-elected West Hartford Town Council member; Brittany Stephenson, president of the Playhouse on Park Young Professional Advisory Board; Katharina Schmidt, actress; Pia Rosenberg Toro, President and Event Co-Chair; Anja Rosenberg, Board Member; Suzanne Oslander, West Hartford Community Partnerships Manager; Astrid Calderon, West Hartford Social Services Manager; Anne Danaher, CEO of JFS. Courtesy photo

Jewish Family Services is expanding its partnership with the Town of West Hartford to assist with providing warm clothing and food to people in need in the community. 

From left: Mark Milligan, Presenting Sponsor TD Bank; Nelson Simons, Presenting Sponsor TD Bank; Michael Miller, Presenting Sponsor TD Bank; Anne Danaher, CEO of JFS; Shari Cantor, West Hartford Mayor; Michael Cantor, Event Host; Pia Rosenberg Toro, JFS President and Event Co-Chair; David Rosenthal, Event Co-Chair; Judy Rosenthal, Event Co-Chair; Michael Cohen, JFS Chairman of the Board. Courtesy photo


Close to 200 people recently attended Jewish Family Services (JFS) seventh annual Embracing Possibility “Rise Against Hunger” gathering  which took place at the home of West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor and Michael Cantor.

The event celebrated the expanded partnership between Jewish Family Services and the Town of West Hartford. Staff and leadership from JFS have been working with the West Hartford Department of Social Services and Human and Leisure Services on how to serve more people in need. According to a recent study, there are over 24,000 households in West Hartford, of which 29% are asset limited, income constrained, employed, and in poverty.

“I am honored to host the annual Rise Against Hunger Event,” said Cantor. “Jewish Family Services serves a critical role in our community and we are proud to build on our partnership between JFS and the Town of West Hartford, helping to provide basic human needs for families and individuals, including food and clothing. In the spirit of the upcoming holidays and Thanksgiving, now is the time to be grateful and give back. When the West Hartford Food Pantry is low, Jewish Family Services has reached out to help fill it. I am lucky to live in West Hartford, the Town that Cares,” she added during her remarks.

One initiative of the partnership is Playhouse on Parks’ Winter Coat Drive, organized by the Theatre’s Young Professional Advisory Board. Following Cantor, lead actress of “A Shayna Maidel,” Katharina Schmidt, who plays the role of Lusia, performed a scene from the show demonstrating the mission of JFS: family, loss, reconciliation, and hope for the future. JFS extends such hope for members of the community through its counseling services, the Anja Rosenberg Kosher Food Pantry, Jewish Employment Transition Services, Tara’s Closet, and the Holocaust Survivors Program.

“It is about embracing possibility; recognizing a void or need in our community and filling it. Especially during the holiday season, we want to ensure that no family is without food and clothing now or throughout the entire year,” said Pia Rosenberg Toro, JFS president and event co-chair. “We are stronger together.”

The Anja Rosenberg Kosher Food Pantry at Jewish Family Services distributes over 90,000 pounds of food, toiletries, and cleaning supplies each year to local residents within the Greater Hartford area during temporary or long-term times of need. Founded in 2002, the Kosher Food Pantry is for anyone who is experiencing food insufficiency, whether it is a one-time occurrence or an ongoing challenge for a family or an individual. Hunger impacts mental health and food insecurity often forces individuals to make stressful decisions, such as choosing between food and paying rent or buying medications. The increased psychological stress may contribute to depression or anxiety.

The goal of this year’s annual campaign is to raise $600,000 which benefits counseling, education and community support programs. Event co-chairs Pia and Mickey Rosenberg Toro and Judy and David Rosenthal were thankful for the exceptional response. “We are so proud of our community’s generosity. These donations will help tremendously in funding basic human needs services provided by JFS for children and families living in our own community.”

Jewish Family Services is a partner agency of Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford  and is generously supported  by the Jewish Community Foundation and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. The agency provides counseling and basic human services to individuals and families throughout the Greater Hartford area. To make a donation of goods to the food pantry, please call 860-236-1927 or visit www.jfshartford.org

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Shari Cantor, West Hartford Mayor (left) with Pia Rosenberg Toro, JFS President and Event Co-Chair. Courtesy photo

From left: Anne Danaher, CEO of JFS; Judy Rosenthal, Event Co-Chair; Anja Rosenberg, Board Member; Pia Rosenberg Toro, JFS President and Event Co-Chair; Katharina Schmidt, actress. Courtesy photo

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