The History of JFS of York

1988—Founded as a social service agency for York’s Jewish community. Its part-time executive director, Joan Krechmer, works out of a small office in the JCC basement in downtown York.

1989—Moves to the new JCC near Queensgate and provides core services of case management and outreach. Other initial programs reach out to the growing number of interfaith families, and to B’nai Mitzvot and their families in an effort to return the lifecycle event to its spiritual foundation.

1990—Brings together the York Jewish community to resettle the Milners, the first of five Jewish families resettled to York after fleeing the disintegrating Soviet Bloc.

1990s—Involves teens in mitzvah projects on topics as diverse as AIDS, aging and animal welfare using grants from the Freas Foundation and the York Foundation. This begins a tradition of intergenerational programming.

1993—Joins a regional Jewish Connections program for singles.

1993—Begins coordinating the Jewish community’s monthly volunteersupport for Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen.

1994—Parenting educator Jessica Brein offers classes and several years later launches The Parenting Place to improve communication skills.

1995—Wins the first of 14 Kovod Awards from the Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies, recognizing excellence in programs and publications. The first award recognizes JFS’s quarterly newsletter.

1999—Receives first grant from Mazon, a Jewish Response to Hunger.

2000—The Project Manna food pantry begins operation.

2000—Renown Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein speaks in York to celebrate JFS’s anniversary.

2002—Staying Connected, an escorted senior transportation program, begins with a $25,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant. Linda Love coordinates the program that brings together six congregations.

2002—The first Hunger Walk-A-Thon is held on the Rail Trail.

2003—Begins offering guardianship services throughout the York community; in 2008, Joan Krechmer becomes one of the area’s two National Certified Guardians.

2003—The High Holy Day Food Drive is launched.

2004—The Lunch Bunch for women coalesces, fostering and reigniting friendships. Two years later, the Men’s Think Tank follows suit.

2004—Betty Hoke helps JFS launch Stitches of Love.

2007—Working with Jewish War Veterans President Jerry Cohen and his wife Toby, JFS launches an interfaith, intergenerational Veterans Memorial Day project, bringing together York Catholic High School students, and Jewish teens and adults to place flags on graves.

2008—Executive Director Joan Krechmer becomes a certified geriatric care manager, launches the Wise Options program.

2008—A 20th anniversary gala at the Out Door Country Club honors JFS founding father Allan Dameshek.

2009—Staying Connected joins with the Area Agency on Aging to recruit Medicare counseling volunteers, expanding the APPRISE counseling program.

2009—More than five years after its website debut, JFS joins Facebook and promotes its first Band Together for a Cause fundraiser.

2010—Partnering with York College Gerontology Professor Mary Ligon, JFS launches an oral history project involving students and seniors.

2010—Assumes oversight of Veterans Memorial Project and annual community Memorial Weekend Service at South Hill Hebrew Cemetery.

2011—Joins the Embracing Aging Initiative Committee of the York County Community Foundation. The next year, JFS produces video profiles of three active area seniors, funded by a foundation grant.

2013—With a grant from the state justice institute, consults with the York County Court System to develop a model guardianship education and training program.

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