Categorized | News Release

Observing Six Years Of Community Action Service

The Jewish Renaissance Foundation Reflects On Service to Middlesex County Residents

Press Release  5/5/15

PERTH AMBOY – On August 20, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act which created a variety of programs, including Community Action Agencies, as part of his War on Poverty. He knew then as we know now, that the war against poverty must be won in the field, in every private home, in every public office, from the courthouse to the White House. “Community Action Month is a wonderful time to honor and celebrate the impact Community Action has in the lives of families and communities across the country,” stated Denise Harlow, National Community Action Partnership CEO. “Agencies are successful every day in helping families achieve economic security. Given that the needs of each family and community are unique, Community Action is able to use a range of resources and programs to meet local needs in creative and impactful ways.”

The Jewish Renaissance Foundation, JRF, is one of those agencies established to address local poverty problems in rural, urban, and suburban communities across the country. Designated in 2009 as a Community Action Agency (CAA), the JRF wage the war on poverty on a personal level in Middlesex County by promoting self-sufficiency for those of limited income ensuring that all residents are able to live in dignity by: Implementing innovative and cost-effective programs to improve the lives and living conditions of the impoverished; Providing support and instruction for everyone in need of assistance; Being a major voice of reason in establishing welfare system reform

Despite experiencing budget cuts, shrinking resources, and increased demands for services during these challenging economic times, the JRF has been remarkably successful assisting the low-income veterans, senior citizens, families, children, students, and everyone in between of Middlesex County East to achieve and maintain economic security.

“Our staff is committed to their task of replacing disadvantages with opportunities because it is right, because it is wise, and because, in our hearts and minds we believe it is possible to conquer poverty in our lifetime” attests Alexandra Cross, JRF’s Chief Executive Director.

A measure of JRF’s impact is through their success stories. One such story is about Ms. Rodriguez, a single mother, who was unemployed and with no health insurance. At the insistence of her son, she participated in the Family Success Center’s (FSC) “Movie Night”, and was introduced to the staff and FSC services. A few days later, Ms. Rodriguez came to the FSC office and met with one of our family partners. They worked to assist her in developing a plan for her life. After Ms. Rodriquez’s first visit, she enrolled into the ESL program and Citizenship classes.Today, Ms. Rodriguez is working full time and is able to communicate more effectively in English. She also successfully completed the Citizenship class and is a United States Citizen. Ms. Rodriguez is one of our strong program advocates and serves as a member of FSC’s Parent Advisory Board. Further, she volunteers and supports our staff with programming and outreach endeavors.

As part of an awareness campaign in May, the JRF are set to host their second annual poverty simulation, “Hunger Games” geared for high-school aged students on Thursday, May 21st, at the Knights of Columbus, in Perth Amboy.

The JRF will also be honoring their volunteers in an appreciation dinner. “Our volunteers are our hearts; our champions.  We are honoring them with an awards ceremony to recognize their impact to the agency and our community,” stated Alexandra Cross.

The JRF will also be posting #BeCommunityAction on their social media sites in honor of National Community Action Month. For more information about these events or about JRF, please contact our office at (732) 324-2114 x 124 or by email at risti.zayas@jrfnj.org

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