High Holiday Food Drives Stock Pantry Shelves

Many thanks to our wonderful local synagogues: Or Shalom, Congregation Mishkan Israel, Temple Emanuel, Temple Beth Shalom, and B’nai Jacob for their High Holiday food collections. Combined, these five synagogues collected nearly 3,000 lbs. of non-perishable food items – which helped stock our shelves with a great selection of items.

This year, the High holidays came during a time when food prices and food procurement are affecting suppliers, stores and shoppers. Donations of non-perishable food and monetary donations help the Pantry be able to serve those who are hunger/food insecure.

The JFS Food pantry staff and volunteers have received many positive comments from pantry visitors regarding the variety of foods available to them. The Food Pantry distributes on average 6,000 lbs. of food monthly to those who are food insecure in our local community.

For more information about food donations, follow this link.

Ansonia Stop & Shop Floral Department will Donate to JFS during November

Starting November 1st, Stop and Shop, Ansonia (located at 100 Division Street), will donate $1 to the JFS Food Pantry for every $10.99 Bloomin’ 4 Good Bouquet (Identified with the red circle sticker) purchased. During this Thanksgiving month you can spread a little love and thanks while helping feed the hungry in our local community! The Bloomin’ 4 Good Bouquets are located in the floral section of the store or you may ask the Ansonia Stop & Shop Florist for assistance.

2022 High Holiday Food Donation Guidelines

With the High Holiday upon us, we would like to remind donors about our non-perishable foods donation guidelines. All food should be newly purchased.  Please avoid oversized containers and packaging.  All items should be checked to verify they are not past their use by/best buy or expiration date.   Please avoid all glass containers which can break in transport or during processing.  Here are the most requested foods: 

  • Boxed or small tub oatmeal, Steel cut oatmeal, farina, cream of wheat or cream of rice.
  • Cereal  – all types
  • Canned Fruits or fruit cups  (especially those in water or light syrup/no sugar added) such as applesauce, mandarin oranges, pineapple (all types), pears, peaches, fruit cups.
  • Boxed Pasta (angel hair, fettuccini, elbows, shells, bowties, rigatoni, orzo, pastina, ditalini, penne, ziti, bagged egg noodles, linguine)
  • Granola, fruit or protein bars
  • Kid juice boxes 
  • Soups and broths (cans and boxed)

Also, for health reasons we cannot accept any open/partial containers or boxes, repackaged items; or homemade items – this includes items without a label. If you have any questions, please contact Sandy Hagan at shagan@jfsnh.org or 203-397-0796.

JFSGNH Welcomes Daisy Abbott As Mental Health Clinical Director

JFS of Greater New Haven is thrilled to welcome Daisy Abbott, LCSW as the new Mental Health Clinical Director. Daisy comes with over twenty years’ experience providing therapy to  a wide variety of people from various socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, educational and other diversified backgrounds.

In her new position, Daisy looks forward to leading JFS in community-based solutions that make real change in a diverse and ever fluid environment. The idea is not only to provide counseling, but also advocacy, solution-focused and crisis intervention, case management, and discharge planning. Community, the value of tradition, culture and diversity are crucial in both Daisy’s clinical and personal practice. 

Daisy’s therapeutic approach stems from a strength based and humanistic position based on the understanding that people are doing the best that they can, want to improve, and are capable of change. She incorporates a variety of interventions that include cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, trauma-informed approaches, parent management training, and solution-focused therapies. Daisy works with individuals, families and couples. Her career highlights include Director Community Based Services at Community Health Center Inc.  Before joining JFS of Greater New Haven, Daisy worked in private practice providing telehealth therapy pre and post pandemic.

A Connecticut native with her Bachelors of Science from Southern CT State University and her Masters in Social Work from Fordham University, Daisy’s history demonstrates her dedication in service. She volunteered at the Coordinating Council for Children as a Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Counselor and has received certifications in Forensic Interviewing of Children and Clinical Issues in Adoption.  Her expertise in electronic health records, program structure and implementation will assist the team as they move forward to launch Care Logic (an electronic health care record system). Daisy lives in Greater New Haven with her son. When she’s not working she enjoys yoga, gardening, and hiking. Please feel free to welcome Daisy personally at: dabbott@jfsnh.org.

School Supply Drive to Help Local Families

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven Food Assistance Program is collecting newly purchased school supplies for children and teens (between the ages of 4-18) whose families use the Food Pantry.  Items currently needed include:   Spiral one-subject, wide ruled notebooks; Spiral multi-subject notebooks (both wide rule and college rule):  two-pocket folders; pens blue or black; No. 2 pencils; child safe scissors; colored pencils; child safe pencil sharpeners; thick and thin water based markers, white glue sticks, large erasers; loose-leaf notebook paper; 2 inch binders, construction paper; drawing pads, Post-It notes; highlighters, etc.

Donations may be dropped off at the JFS Food Pantry, 1440 Whalley Avenue on Wednesday and Thursdays between 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Additional drop off times are available by appointment by calling 203-397-0796.  If you order through Amazon Smile, you can also designate JFS of Greater New Haven as a recipient agency for cash back. Online orders can be shipped directly to the JFS Food Pantry, 1440 Whalley Avenue, New Haven, CT 06515. If you are an organization, business or school and you would like to conduct a collection to assist us, please contact shagan@jfsnh.org or call the Pantry at 203-397-0796.  Thanks in advance for helping our kids to get ready for a great school year ahead!

Bloomin’ 4 Good Bouquets Benefit JFS Food Pantry During June

Throughout the entire month of June, Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven’s Food Pantry & Food Assistance Program will receive a $1 donation for every $10.99 Bloomin’ 4 Good Bouquet with the red circle sticker purchased at the Stop & Shop located at 112 Amity Road in New Haven. It’s a great month to purchase a bouquet to honor the graduate, celebrate Pride, show “Thanks” to family or friends, or as pick me up, or just because. Flowers can make someone’s day, spread smiles and brighten up a room. Now they can feed the hungry, too! It’s as simple as that! The Bloomin’ 4 Good Bouquets with the red circle sticker are located in the floral section of the store, or near the greeting card aisle or you may ask the Amity Stop &Shop Florist for assistance.

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven Names Alissa Wurtzel New CEO

May 31, 2022

The Board of Directors of Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven is delighted to announce the appointment of Alissa Wurtzel as their new CEO.

For the past twenty years, Alissa has spent her professional life improving the social and emotional welfare of individuals and families, most recently as the Clinical Director at Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven. In that role, Alissa is leading the agency’s implementation of a new electronic health record system and has reimagined and restructured a number of critical programs serving the most vulnerable in the community. Working with the agency’s leadership team, Alissa has helped ensure their post-pandemic roadmap includes enhancing timely and accessible services for seniors, Holocaust Survivors and their caregivers, those struggling with mental health issues, those in need of emergency assistance, food and/or housing support.

During her career, she has worked as the Director of Psychological Health for the Connecticut Army National Guard as well as a Senior Clinician with Community Health Center Inc. Before joining JFS of Greater New Haven, Alissa worked as a medical social worker for the Hartford Health Care Hospice Program, empowering families with the education, materials, and access to spiritual, religious, and cultural supports they needed to care for their loved ones at the end of their lives.

A Connecticut native, Alissa earned both her BA and Master’s Degree at UCONN. At school, throughout her career, and now at JFS of Greater New Haven, Alissa has worked diligently and passionately to ensure equity and inclusion are cornerstones of her practice and that people of diverse backgrounds, especially those who are traditionally underserved, feel welcome and supported whenever accessing and receiving care.  Please feel free to welcome Alissa personally at: awurtzel@jfsnh.org

JFSGNH Welcomes New Mental Health Director and Aging Adult Coordinator

Alissa Wurtzel, LCSW, joins Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven as the new Clinical Mental Health Director for both the Child and Adult Outpatient clinics.  She brings with her an eclectic skill set of evidence-based treatment modalities and experience with diverse populations.  Serving the mental health and behavioral needs of Connecticut residents for the past 20 years, Alissa is most looking forward to weaving together the past, current, and future needs of the JFS community.

Experienced with individual, family, and group therapy, Alissa has worked with clients as young as 4 and as old as 107.  Alissa feels her strength is in teaching people about the impact that stressors and stimuli have on us as human beings, and she encourages individuals and groups to use their intuition and uniqueness to identify solutions.

Before joining JFS, Alissa’s specialty areas were in trauma informed care, EMDR, medical social work, Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT), and co-occurring disorders.  Alissa is grateful for previous experiences with community health clinics, children and families using animal assisted therapy, the Connecticut Army National Guard, and hospice patients and their families.  She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Connecticut.  Alissa can be reached at 203-389-5599, ext. 117 or awurtzel@jfsnh.org

Elanit Kayne Linder, LMSW, recently joined JFS as the Aging Adult and Community Outreach Coordinator. “I’m invigorated to be joining JFS at a time when the geriatric program is expanding as are the geriatric needs of our community. I look forward to rolling out the JFS Care Navigators Care Management Program,” Linder expressed.   In her new position, Elanit will lead this comprehensive program, which provides needs and psychosocial assessments, care planning, advocacy, linkage to community resources, weekly check –in calls and collaboration with family members. 

Elanit earned her Bachelor’s degree at TISCH School of the Arts at New York University and her Master’s Degree at Columbia University School of Social Work. Elanit’s prior older adult career experience includes assisted living memory care director, director of recreation, and clinical community liaison in various facilities.

Elainit is committed to program development that empowers individuals and communities to their best quality of life in their own vision. She is dedicated to intergenerational programming, cultivating and developing long-term partnerships while supporting clients and families.  Elanit can be reached at 203-389-5599, ext. 114 or elinder@jfsnh.org.

JFS Names Brian Prousky Interim CEO

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven, Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of Brian Prousky as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Prousky will use his expertise to guide the agency through this transition of leadership and post pandemic renewal.

Most recently, Brian was the Executive Director of Jewish Family and Child Service of Greater Toronto. In this role, he was instrumental in developing programs and partnerships that improved the lives of vulnerable and at-risk individuals and families. Brian passionately represented the agency, its service users and the broader community on various local, national and international forums, including on the Board of Directors of the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies. He solidified the agency’s financial position while expanding programing to serve emerging needs. This included reimagining and rebuilding the agency’s poverty reduction program so that it contained a constellation of holistic supports built around the Social Determinants of Health, achieving quality outcomes for those who, quite sadly, experienced all the deleterious impacts of poverty.

In 2020, the agency was recognized internationally with a best practice award for its service delivery in this area. Most notably, Brian built an organizational culture that was transparent and collaborative – one that was open to renewal, re-imagination, agility, adaptability, all of which served the agency well during a time of great uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

Prior to leading Jewish Family and Child Service of Greater Toronto, Brian was the Director of Services at the Durham Children’s Aid Society and York Region Children’s Aid Society, two large child welfare agencies.

Brian was a founding member of the Durham Region Intimate-Partner Violence Empowerment Network (DRIVEN), a collaborative, collocated program (involving seven on-site partner agencies) serving women and children who have experienced domestic violence.

Brian was also a founding member of the Regional Adoption Program for the Children’s Aid Societies of Durham, Kawartha Haliburton and Highland Shores. From 1999-2015, Brian delivered province-wide training to child protection managers in the areas of Risk Assessment, Differential Response, Performance Management and Transfer of Learning. Brian has a particular interest in organizational change management, both from a strategic and cultural perspective.

Throughout his career, he has been instrumental in leading change management processes where staffing and financial resources have been redeployed to increase sustainability and enhance service delivery. 

Brian may be reached at bprousky@jfsnh.org.

Hadassah Magazine – Living on the edge of food insecurity

The November/December 2021 Issue of Hadassah Magazine features an article that mentions the Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven Food Pantry. Reporter Cathryn J. Prince’s “I Never Thought I’d be Needing This” – Living on the Edge of Food Insecurity explores food insecurity nationwide and visited the Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven Food Pantry to talk about its food assistance program.