Moving Forward Together

Every year, the Embrace-A-Family Program provides gifts and holiday cheer for individuals and families in need across San Diego County. From single-parent families, to military veterans, to older adults living on a tight fixed income, we work together with our community to make the holidays possible for those who might not otherwise be able to celebrate. Your support makes this special time of year a whole lot brighter.

The 2020 holiday season posed unique challenges to our traditional gift giving, but thanks to your generosity, Embrace-A-Family was able to brighten the holidays for hundreds of our neighbors. The video and FAQ below explain new program procedures that adhered to COVID-19 safety guidelines. On behalf of the Embrace-A-Family team and everyone at JFS, thank you for your support!

Questions About Becoming An Embracer?

Contact the Volunteer Engagement team directly at (858) 637-3034 or email [email protected].

“We cannot begin to express our gratitude for what was given to our family. Your kindness will never be forgotten.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Embrace-A-Family?
Every year, JFS partners with people just like you to provide holiday support to those who may not otherwise have the means to celebrate. Together, Embrace-A-Family brings smiles to children, vital items to seniors, and the holiday spirit to all who are embraced.

Is JFS continuing the Embrace-A-Family program this year?
Yes. JFS is committed to embracing families again this holiday season. The need is greater than ever as many individuals and families are experiencing financial challenges for the first time due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who is eligible to be embraced?
Individuals and families actively participating in JFS services are eligible. Embrace-A-Family is part of the holistic support JFS offers as a hand up, not a handout. Embrace recipients are from all faiths, backgrounds, and ages.

Approximately how many families will be embraced this year?
We are still in the process of identifying all those who will be embraced. In years past, we’ve embraced between 400 and 600 families, and the number looks to be substantially greater this year.

Will I be matched with a specific family like in years past?
The short answer is No. In light of COVID-19, JFS has adjusted this year’s Embrace-A-Family program model to ensure the safety of its participants, staff, donors, volunteers, and community. While a limited team remains on campus to provide critical in-person services, most JFS programs continue to operate virtually at this time. Therefore, physical gifts will not be collected and distributed this holiday season as a safety measure.

If not gifts, what will clients receive this year?
JFS will be providing families with holiday meals, care packages, and direct financial assistance which they can use to celebrate the holidays and use for critical needs. This new model empowers individuals and families with the ability to apply these additional resources where they need it most: for a family meal, a child’s gift, a care package, or anything else the family may need during these trying times.

In year’s past, my family has enjoyed learning about the family that we are embracing. Is there anything about this year’s families?
Yes, there are some stories/backgrounds about families being embraced this year. We will be adding them shortly to this page—check back in the first week in November.

How can I contribute?
Please make your gift here. All donations to Embrace-A-Family 2020 are put into JFS’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to ensure support for people in our community this holiday season. Thank you to the community whose support enabled us to realize a $360,000 matching gift by Evelyn and Ernest Rady!

When will families receive these funds?
Individuals and families embraced will receive financial assistance at the beginning of December to allow time to make purchases before the holidays.

When is the deadline to contribute?
The date for the 2021 holiday season will be announced in the fall.

How does the Rady Match effect this year’s Embrace-A-Family?
This is so awesome we are putting this information twice!
Financial contributions to Embrace-A-Family 2020 are put into JFS’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. Evelyn and Ernest Rady were matching all gifts to the COVID-19 Relief Fund up to $360,000 or until November 30th.  Thanks to the generous support of the community, we were able to realize the full match in early November.

My family is interested in being embraced this year, who do I contact?
Individuals and families must be actively participating in JFS services to be eligible to be embraced for the holidays. If you are in need of assistance, please contact (858) 637-3210 or fill out our online contact form here.