Bagels and Bingo Helps JFCS Food Pantry

Thoughts of Bingo may conjure images of smoky halls or spacious retirement home rec rooms, but Jewish Family & Career Services elevated this simple game to a higher level with a new event that featured food and prizes. Bagels and Bingo, held on Sunday, February 9, included a “breakfast for dinner” buffet, several rounds of Bingo and a raffle.

Ninety-two attendees donated canned goods and toiletry items as their entry fee. The new Bingo event was born from a desire to raise awareness of the needs and challenges faced by JFCS clients.

“Carole Goldberg, Linda Goodman and Janet Meyer came up with the idea for Bagels and Bingo. They have been instrumental in planning the framework and particulars,” said Kim Toebbe, JFCS volunteer coordinator. Goldberg and Goodman co-manage the JFCS Food Pantry, and Meyer co-chairs the food pantry committee. Board member, Sheilah Abramson Miles, brought bagels; Jerri and Tom Passo brought lox; Rabbi David Ariel-Joel provided funds to purchase food, and the entire food pantry committee brought delicious egg dishes, noodle kugel, fruit and pastries.

Local businesses and individual donors were very supportive of the event. Jim Fine won a donated Verismo coffeemaker, along with coffee pods and other accessories donated by Starbucks at Holiday Manor. Additional prizes were donated by JFCS staff and community members including Barbara Goldberg and Sue Levitch of the Adath Jeshurun Gift Shop, Ellen Gray of the Temple Shalom Gift Shop and JFCS Board President Debbie Friedman.

“Bagels and Bingo was a win-win for everyone, including clients who will benefit from food collected for the pantry that evening,” Toebbe said. The food pantry was overflowing with all kinds of wonderful donations, and volunteers worked Sunday night and half the day on Monday to stock the shelves.

“So many people are unaware that there are numerous families in our community who are facing hunger and economic distress every day,” commented Judy Freundlich Tiell, JFCS executive director. “These generous donations of food, money and household supplies will provide our clients with nutritional meals and necessities for their families. We are so grateful to everyone who donated to the event.”

Brief History of the JFCS Food Pantry
The JFCS Food Pantry started in 1990s and Sonny and Janet Meyer became volunteers because they were committed to never letting a Jewish family go without food. The Meyers would purchase turkeys at Thanksgiving for the agency to give to families in need. Five years ago, the couple established the Sonny and Janet Meyer Family Food Pantry Fund at JFCS and made it their mission to grow the pantry so more families could benefit from more abundant offerings.

Janet Meyer recruited a group of volunteers to help; that group now has 45 members who actually stock and organize the pantry every week. Several years ago, the committee established a Flapjack Fundraiser to raise money for the food pantry; that fundraiser has since morphed into Pizza for the Pantry, held every summer at Wick’s Pizza Parlor on Goose Creek Drive.

The JFCS Food Pantry is just one of the services that the agency provides the community. This valuable resource shares necessities with those who have fallen on hard times. As a closed Dare to Care Food Bank site, the pantry is available to JFCS clients but not to the general public. The association with Dare to Care allows JFCS to get perishable goods once or twice a month as needs require.

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