Samost Jewish Family & Children’s Service helps everyone from teens to seniors with job placement and much more.
Place a catering order from Soups and Sweets in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and you’re supporting something special: Every tray of cupcakes, loaf of challah or pot of soup sold helps fund a food-service training program for adults with special needs. Since 2013, the 200-hour internship has led to dozens of job placements in local restaurants and supermarkets. Recent 23-year-old grad Blake, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, parlayed his experience into a job as a prep chef at a local brew pub. “When Blake was younger, I wasn’t sure what his adult life would look like,” his mom says. “I now see a productive, happy young man.”
Soups and Sweets is just one initiative of Samost Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) of Southern New Jersey, which, with help from the Subaru of America Foundation, provides counseling, senior services, volunteer opportunities, special needs programming and more to people of every race, religion and socioeconomic background. Specifically, the Subaru of America Foundation grant goes to support JFCS programs geared toward employment skills. JFCS also receives integral support from the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities and the New Jersey Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. “We strive to have our finger on the pulse of the issues facing families today,” says Lydia Silpe, grants and outreach coordinator for JFCS.
It’s working. Soups and Sweets, for example, started in the kitchen of a local synagogue. In just five years, the program has grown large enough to make the move to a commercial kitchen.
JFCS, says Silpe, just keeps “listening and learning about new ways we can serve our community better.” Whether it comes to promoting LGBTQ rights, educating teens and families about drug addiction or offering companionship to a lonely senior, she and her colleagues are there – with their fingers firmly on the pulse of their community.
Learn more about JFCS