The 11th annual Jewish Family & Career Services Community of Caring luncheon helped the organization raise $431,184 for programs, services and resources to support people of all faiths, cultures and ages in metro Atlanta.
The dollar amount was the highest raised by the event.
Held Friday, April 28, at the InterContinental Buckhead, the luncheon is the largest annual fundraiser for JF&CS.
JF&CS CEO Rick Aranson thanked the crowd of more than 700 people for attending and continuing to support the organization’s efforts. He also thanked funders the Marcus Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and the United Way of Greater Atlanta, as well as 11 Atlanta-area synagogues that help sponsor the organization.
Eric Miller, the program coordinator for HAMSA, the comprehensive JF&CS substance abuse program for the Jewish community, spoke about his efforts to curb opioid abuse in Atlanta’s suburban “Heroin Triangle,” where heroin-related deaths shot up 4,000 percent from 2010 to 2016.
Haley Schwartz, a partner of JF&CS who works for Insight, also shared her story of addiction and recovery.
A short film directed by videographer Adam Hirsch detailed the stories of five people helped by JF&CS:
• Annie — A Holocaust survivor, Annie moved to Atlanta from Israel to be closer to her daughter but had difficulty getting settled. Through a JF&CS program providing services to survivors, Annie participates in a monthly meet-up for Holocaust survivors and gets together monthly with a group of younger women JF&CS matched her with.
• Gloria — JF&CS helped Gloria, thrust into a caregiver role for her mother, find a support group at which she could get the help she needed. Later, Gloria used the organization’s gPATH career services program to help find work in Atlanta’s Lyft office.
• Levon — After serving in the Coast Guard, Levon came to Atlanta for a job in a machine shop, where he worked for many years until the industry slowly died in the city. Through the Ben Massell Dental Clinic, a JF&CS program, Levon received dental care that he could not otherwise afford.
• Gil — Diagnosed with everything from ADHD and Tourette syndrome to the autism spectrum, Gil got counseling with the help of JF&CS. He has found steady employment at Whole Foods and continues to get assistance from the organization, including counseling services.
• Debra — After serving in Iraq in 2010, Debra Johnsea developed post-traumatic stress disorder and turned to drinking. Through the Wounded Warrior Project and JF&CS, she and her son, Christian, got the counseling they needed.
After the video, the Johnsea family went onstage to thank JF&CS.
In the past year, JF&CS added a new building to the Dunwoody campus for the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services area and completely renovated its clinical services wing.