ABOUT THE YEAR OF BUILDING
Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County (JFS) started serving anyone and everyone in the community in 1993 in less than 200 square feet. During the past two decades, the agency expanded services and needed more space to meet growing and urgent community demand. In December 2019, JFS fulfilled a lifelong dream of securing a permanent home for its mission of creating solutions, promoting dignity, and inspiring humanity. Then, the pandemic hit.
During this last year, it became more apparent than ever that we truly needed our increased space. The number of people relying on the agency for critical services increased dramatically. The JFS Nutrition Services program (which includes a Specialty Food Pantry, as well as prepared meals) more than quadrupled its operations. Had we not owned the building, it would have been nearly impossible to meet this unprecedented demand. In fact, nearly every corner of the building became involved in some way with hunger prevention. While many JFS programs transitioned to virtual, the building remained open throughout the pandemic as a hub for critical in-person services.
As we all—with cautious optimism—begin to re-engage and (for some) rebuild our lives, we are looking to the future. In spite of setbacks caused by the pandemic, we continue to plan and dream for what services and programs emanating from the building we can offer to the community.
To that end, JFS is thrilled to announce The Year of Building. We look to celebrate the building—and those who helped make it our permanent home—but it’s not just about the bricks and mortar. It’s about what happens inside. It’s about Jen, who can make personal food choices and be served with dignity by JFS Nutrition Services; about Steve, who is learning new ways to maintain and improve his mental health; about Ben, who meets with his case manager for help navigating his senior health needs; about the family from Yemen that arrives to start anew; about the students who celebrate graduation from their ESL class; about the volunteers who help package prepared groceries and other supplies to deliver to older adults; about the Holocaust survivors who meet to share a meal and spend time together; and about Ana, who is taking the next step toward owning her own bakery.
We plan to host three signature events to highlight capacity-building projects—such as our new kitchen space and refugee resettlement services suite—and the ongoing vision of protecting our future to sustain and expand services for anyone and everyone in Washtenaw County.
Below we thank our sponsors from that Year of Building:
Renovation Time-Lapse Video
FINAL RENOVATION PHOTOS
Conference Room: Before, During & After