Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven Names Honorees

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven (JFSGNH) is proud to announce their honorees for their Spring Celebration, which will take place at Congregation B’nai Jacob on Thursday April 23, 2020, from 6-8 p.m. Debra and Richard Epstein and Betsy Flaherty will be recognized for their outstanding, ongoing commitment to JFSGNH.  In their various roles as board members, volunteers, program founders, advocates and donors, these three individuals have worked diligently to improve the lives of children and families in our community who rely upon JFS’ vital programs and services.

The accomplishments of the 2020 honorees also serve as inspiration for the Spring Celebration’s fundraising goals. All proceeds raised will benefit these essential JFS programs: Child and Adult Mental Health Services, Food Assistance Programs (Pantry and Food4kids), Social Work Outreach Services Program (SOS), and the Holocaust Survivors Program.

"It is not other people’s family members who need our food pantry, weekend supplemental food, warm clothing, counseling, vocational outreach, emergency financial service assistance or are Holocaust survivors. It is every one of us—our families, friends and neighbors,” explains JFS CEO Amy Rashba. "We must continue to support one another.”

About the honorees:

Richard Epstein, a lifelong resident of New Haven is president of the L.H. Brenner/Thompson and Peck Insurance Agency. He’s been involved in several local organizations—as chair of the CT Special Olympics Games, president of Congregation B'nai Jacob, board member of Hamden Hall Country Day School, chair of the New Haven Police Commission and as past president of Jewish Family Service.

For the past 40 years, Debra Epstein has served on numerous community boards, including Congregation B’nai Jacob, VP of Women’s Philanthropy, past chair of Rachel's Table and the co-founder of Food4Kids New Haven.

Both Debbie and Rick are proud parents to Kate and Adam Fierman, Emily Epstein, Herbie and Michelle Epstein as well as grandparents to Zachary, Noah, Reid, Levi and Elyse. "We became involved in JFS because of the services they provide, regardless of one’s economic situation or religious affiliation," she shares. "JFS uniquely allows its volunteers to be 'hands on,' thereby directly impacting the quality of life for the disadvantaged."

Betsy Flaherty, who previously served on the Congregation B’nai Jacob and Ezra Academy boards, is currently a board member of Woman’s Philanthropy of Greater New Haven, a regional board member of ADL as well as a facilitator for the ADL Words to Action program. Betsy began volunteering at the JFS Food Pantry in 2013. “Working at the pantry has given me insight into the extent of food insecurity in our community," she says. "Getting to know and care about Pantry clients allows me to treat them with the integrity and respect they deserve, while helping them make ends meet." A resident of Bethany, Betsy and her husband Sean are parents to Cassi and Michael DiLorenzo, Hannah and Simon and grandparents to Mia and Vinny.

JFS CEO Amy Rashba feels privileged to honor both the Epsteins and Betsy Flaherty. “I was so impressed with Betsy’s personal touch and compassion," she says. "When she posted a Facebook photo of our nearly depleted Food Pantry shelves, our community was stirred to quickly fill them!  And long-time JFS supporters Rick and Debbie are so passionate about feeding hungry school children over the weekends with our FOOD4KIDS program. All three honorees are the embodiment of all that is great within Greater New Haven. They genuinely understand the critical needs of our clients, the significance of these fundamental programs and through their actions, encourage others to support the entirety of JFS. I invite everyone to join us on April 23 to honor their amazing efforts."

For more information, visit JFS Spring Celebration page