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J-Serve teens make a huge impact for Denver Health’s Refugee Patients

May 16, 2016

One hundred twenty seven teens came out for this year’s J-Serve, the International Day of Jewish Teen Service in Denver. The teens packed 315 Comfort Bags for children in foster care, children who have just arrived in America as refugees and men and women who are experiencing homelessness. Comfort Bags for kids included essentials like toiletries as well as stuffed animals, books, sunglasses and school supplies. Adults received a most sought after item, new socks, in addition to toiletries. Teens also decorated pillowcases and cards for each bag.

Jewish teens representing every youth group, camp and club came together to work on this year’s project at Temple Sinai. The teen planning committee included Ari Asarch, Jessica Cantor, Sophie Cardin, Sofia Epshtein, Margalit Goldberg, Ely Merenstein, Alana Perlmutter and Lina Zaychick.

Prior to packing the bags, representatives from Denver Department of Human Services, Denver Health Foundation, Jefferson/Gilpin CASA and Urban Peak spoke about their clients and the impact the Comfort Bags will make. “Remember that as Jews, we were refugees many times in our history. These bags will bring enormous comfort to children who have fled other countries and just arrived in the US,” Robin Engleberg, Program Director, Denver Health Foundation told the crowd.

“This was an amazing event,” said Karen Silverman, Executive Director of jHub, and one of the organizers. “To see 127 teens learn together and then do community service is very powerful. The teens were very thoughtful in their discussions and did a great job creating cards and pillowcases that will be meaningful to the recipients.” After receiving the delivery of backpacks, Betsy Ruckard, Denver Health Refugee Services Coordinator said, “It was so wonderful to receive the donation of back packs and school supplies today for our young refugee patients!  We were especially touched by the notes inside that said, ‘Welcome to America’.  Thanks so much for thinking of us.”

J-Serve is a yearly community wide program that provides teens with the opportunity to fulfill the Jewish values of gemilut chasidim, acts of loving kindness, tzedakah, just and charitable giving, and tikkum olam, the responsibility to repair the world. This year, J-Serve received generous support from many organizations and companies including: B’nai Havurah, BBYO, Bombas Socks, Chameleon Solutions, Colorado Rockies, J-Serve, Kroenke Sports, Photography by Avital, Sage Hospitality and Staples Foundation. J-Serve is organized locally by jHub, an association of 25 Jewish teen serving organizations. For more information, contact or

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