Moving Forward Together

Thank you to everyone who participated in Embrace-A-Family 2020. Because of your generosity, 540 families felt the warm embrace of our community this holiday season.

While this year certainly looked different than years past, one thing is certain: you made a difference in someone’s life during their time of need. The pandemic has created challenging hardships for many individuals and families across our community. Your support helped to make this holiday season a little brighter for them. Each person who turns to Jewish Family Service has a story that includes vulnerability, courage, and resilience, and their notes of gratitude speak to your impact better than I ever could.

“I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart…I received a gift card in the mail today and I just about cried when I realized I could purchase gelt and presents for my kids. Being a single mother is never easy. I always worry about holidays and birthdays. Knowing that others care about my children makes me feel so grateful. It truly makes a difference. Thank you…Happy Hanukkah.”

“Speechless….this means so much to my little family. My heart is FULL of happy tears.”

“Thank you so much for your gift to our family. Your contribution fed my family for Christmas and New Years. My boys really wanted a special dinner and I was able to do that for them. Thank you so much. My children and I are thankful. Happy Holidays.”

Thank you for being a part of this incredible, community-wide effort to embrace our neighbors-in-need this holiday season.
Your support puts the strength of a community behind every child, adult, and family who turns to JFS.

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


Read more about how it works below, or talk to a member of our Volunteer Engagement team. They’re here to help you get started.

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.

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 last date to make a gift is December 11, 2020.

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.