"It feels good to help people in our own community who need a hand. Small things that we may take for granted, like a bar of soap or a can of tuna, can make a big difference to someone else." Kathy Edelman

The Michael Klahr Jewish Family Services (KJFS) Hanukkah Lights Program was initiated by a social work student intern in 2013. With the Hanukkah Lights Program, we can help those in need of assistance with holiday gifts and winter gear. Parents fill out wish lists for their family and donors may choose to sponsor a family and shop for toys, coats and boots using that list, or they may provide monetary support for an individual child. Since we began this program, we have been able to help nearly 500 children have a warmer, more festive holiday season.


To conclude the program each year and to celebrate the community giving, we hold a Tzedakah (righteous giving) party. This party is co-hosted by KJFS and PJ Library and includes kid friendly activities. This year’s celebration will take place on Thursday, November 29th from 5:00 - 6:30 PM at the JCA. We would love to have you join us!


There are three ways the community can participate:

  1. Donate by cash or check: Donations can be made online at www.mainejewish.org or by check made out to the JCA; please indicate “Hanukkah Lights” in the memo line.
  • An $18 donation will provide one toy for a child.
  • A $36 donation will provide a winter coat and one toy for a child.
  • A $72 donation will provide full winter gear and two toys for a child.


  1. Support a family - You shop and bring gifts and gear to the JCA:
  • Choose a family size to support, and we will provide you with the ages and clothing sizes of each child in the family and a small list of toys they have requested.
  • Purchase two toys and/or a winter coat, boots, hats or mittens for each child in the family. Recommended cost per child is $72, but feel free to spend whatever you feel is appropriate.
  • Create a list of all items given for the family, and deliver the unwrapped items, labeled with family number and the list, to the JCA, 1342 Congress Street anytime 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM from November 12 - 16, 2018.
  1. Volunteer your time: help shop, accept donations, or deliver gifts.


If you are interested in making a gift or sponsoring a family, contact Avery Friend at 207-772-1959 (ext. 301) or email afriend@mainejewish.org with the following information: your name, address, telephone number, email address, number of families (and family size) you want to support. If your workplace, temple or havurah group would like to be involved, we are also happy to help craft a plan for a larger group!