Food Pantry & Nutritional Health Center Awarded CHEFA Grant Funding


The JFSGNH Food Pantry and Nutritional Health Center was recently awarded $53,000 in grant funding from the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA).  This year’s highly competitive grant solicitation garnered 124 applications totaling nearly $6 million in requests.  JFSGNH was one of just 23 organizations approved to receive part of the $1,125,000 distributed to nonprofit organizations across Connecticut.

“This funding will allow us to vastly expand our Nutritional Health and Wellness Program and provide vital social and human services and much –needed food to hundreds of our community’s most disadvantages, disenfranchised, vulnerable, and at-risk families and children, said Jonathan Garfinkle, JFS’ Executive Director and CEO.   “The ultimate goal is to offer our clients the opportunity to achieve long-term stability and self-sustainability by fostering the economic, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being of the many, many additional individuals and families we will reach through this generous grant.”

According to Feed America, 13.9% of families in Greater New Haven County are currently facing food insecurity.  Funding such as this will help JFSGNH to provide relief to many individuals and families.  Food insecurity refers to a family’s lack of access to adequate food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. Food insecurity may result in the need  to make impossible  trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing costs or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods.

With the current state of the economy, changes in philanthropic focus and dwindling funding options, nonprofit agencies and organizations depend on private, foundation, and governmental grant funding to help enhance services and programs.  Funders such as CHEFA help bridge the gap and enable agencies to provide much needed services to the communities in which they serve.

Senu and Fiske Named 2016 Family Champions

FULL PHOTOCongratulations to Princess Senu, BSW, Foster Care Case Manager, and Betsy Fiske, long time member of the JFS Board of Directors and Past President, on recently being named the 2016 Family Champions for Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven. The pair were celebrated by the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies during a reception June 9th at the New Haven Lawn Club. This award recognizes one staff member and one board member who have gone above and beyond. Please continue reading for the bios of each champion.

Princess Senu – Princess Senu started working at JFS 3 ½ years ago. As a Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) Case Manager, she has worked compassionately and effectively with children, adolescents and foster parents. Princess connects well with not only the young children and teenagers, but the families as well – and she continuously meets the many obstacles that have come her way with patience and calm – including challenging families, unusual situations and emergencies. Princess offers a wide range of talents and a great deal of flexibility to the agency as she also works in the Permanency Planning Services Program, in which the job responsibilities, service goals with clients and the paperwork are very different from those of TFC. Princess provides services to some of the most challenging clients at our agency and she does so with the gentlest of approaches. When she clocks in at 9 a.m. she never knows what the day will bring or when the day will end. However, through it all, she maintains her sense of commitment, and especially her sense of humor. She is a team player, willing to help out wherever she is needed. Princess is currently working toward her Masters in Social Work degree at Fordham University. She may be our “Princess” but most important, she is a champion to our children and families and she is now our JFS 2016 Family Champion!

Betsy Fiske – Being a Board member of a non-profit agency is a big commitment. From regular board meetings to special committees, events and fundraising – many volunteer hours are expended. Now imagine just how many hours this would amount to over the past 27 years in which Betsy Fiske has been a vital part of JFS. Betsy joined the JFS Board of Directors back in 1989 at the request of her neighbor and has never looked back. She has served in many capacities, including chairing the Fund Development Committee, the Strategic Planning Committee, the Executive Search Committee, as Vice President, and eventually serving as the JFS Board President from 1996-1998. Even after her presidency, she continued to serve by representing JFS every year on important agency committees and special projects.

She is currently serving again as an active Board Director and is the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. In addition to her current board duties, Betsy also volunteers in the JFS Food Pantry where she greets clients, schedules appointments, answers phone calls and provides initial intakes of emergency clients. Betsy is always willing to go that extra mile to help out in whatever capacity she can, whether it be JFS Board duties or pantry help. She is empathetic, understanding and connects with clients, JFS staff and board members alike.

Betsy was born and raised in New Haven. She is a former printer and modern dancer. She has chaired the National Association of Litho Clubs Foundation for the past 35 years, awarding graphic arts scholarships to high school seniors across the country. She has a daughter, three step children, 2 grandchildren and 5 step grandchildren. In her free time, Betsy enjoys yoga and meditation and is learning to play bridge.