Closet to pantry, Jacksonville charity meets needs for local families

Jewish Family & Community Services helps families during holiday season

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and while many are busy preparing, others are struggling to make ends meet.

Jewish Family & Community Services is one local organization helping families get what they need this holiday season.

“The numbers change: Is it 1 out of 4, 1 out of 5 people in Jacksonville that have challenges with accessing food? We have a very high poverty level -- over 16% live in poverty,” said Colleen Rodriguez, CEO of Jewish Family & Community Services.

The organization provides help for families who need it the most throughout the River City.

A person who didn’t want to be identified said that without this organization’s help, he and his family would go hungry, be without electricity, and not have access to social networking.

From the Fanny Landwirth Clothing Closet to the Max Block Food Pantry, JFCS is putting food on plates and clothes on children, especially during the holidays.

The organization serves more than 18,000 people with a variety of services and 51,000 meals a year.

While JFCS is guided by Jewish values, the organization serves people of all backgrounds and faiths in Northeast Florida. In fact, 80% of those who are assisted are not Jewish.

The clothing pantry helps clothe more than 700 kids yearly.


Families can come shop in the food pantry and clothing closet free of charge.

The pantry and clothing closet are located in the same building, making it easier for families to access both services.

“They can leave with clothing and food. But we can also sit down with them about their budget and where they’re living and help them make long-term decisions so we’re just not helping them this month but next month they’re more stable and every month they’re getting better,” said Rodriguez.

JFCS will have extended hours during the holiday season.

If you’re interested in donating any items to the food pantry or clothing closet, JFCS needs winter clothes, underwear and socks for children as well as non-perishable foods.

To find out the other items JFCS needs donated or the times the food pantry and clothing closet is open click here.

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