The Joy Project
By Vivian Henoch, Editor myJewishDetroit
April 1, 2019
Never doubt the power of a Mother’s Day card . . . especially when you send a tribute to Mom through The Joy Project in care of Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit (JFS).
Celebrating its 10th year at JFS, The Joy Project has been a community-driven program that has raised more than $300,000 for services and programs to support the needs of thousands of women, girls and families each year.
“The Joy Project was born because I was not only compelled to honor my mother, Joy Nachman, but also moved to help brighten Mother’s Day for mothers in our community who may not have anyone to acknowledge or appreciate them.” As Elanah Hunger, Founder of The Joy Project, explains, “At the time, it didn’t occur to me how much delight this seemingly simple gesture could bring to both donors and recipients alike. It’s a good reminder that no matter what we do to reach out and help, no effort is too little, no gift of love is too small.”
Women helping women helping women
“It’s not about me,” Joy insists. “I can’t stress enough that we’re in this together – women helping women take care of their families.” A psychologist in practice in Birmingham, Joy Nachman considers it her good fortune to help support JFS and those the agency serves. “I’m ever grateful for everyone’s efforts to make The Joy Project what it is today.”
Elanah is quick to give credit where it’s due. “Thinking back on that first year, we would never have gotten the project off the ground had it not been for Amy Haimann and Lindsay Leder at JFS. They immediately fell in love with the idea of sending small gifts of appreciation to brighten a Mother’s Day for women in their client roster who might otherwise be forgotten. That first year we scrambled to fill 300 gift baskets with soaps and lotions – small luxury items collected from friends.”
From friends to partnerships
From the start, Tapper’s sponsorship seemed meant to be. As it happened, when Elanah ran into her friend, Marla Tapper Young – of Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry – and described the Project, Marla was thrilled with the concept. (Marla’s middle name also happens to be Joy). And so, Marla and her family stepped up with the purchase and donation of beautiful bracelets from their store. “The Tapper family has been on board as a major sponsor ever since,” observes Elanah, “And, without question, The Joy Project could not have grown to this extent each year without their passion and support.”
How The Joy Project works
What can you do to spread a little joy of your own this Mother’s Day? Easy. Go to JFS online and purchase a tribute card for Mom, your sister, your best friend – any one or all those special women in your life. Or become a sponsor and know that your generosity will go directly to help pay for the wide range of services provided every day at JFS.
“From our standpoint, The Joy Project adds an incredible boon to the entire range of services JFS now provides,” added Lindsay Leder, Senior Director of Community Engagement. “We’re so fortunate to have supporters in our community adding their strength in numbers to showcase the great work that we do.”
“All proceeds from The Joy Project help us wrap our arms around families,” added Lindsay. “In countless individual ways, JFS provides help to those in need or in crisis. Our services range from mental health counseling, emergency financial assistance, older adult services, transportation to doctor appointments, Kosher Meals on Wheels, domestic abuse intervention, suicide prevention training, programs for Holocaust survivors, wellness programs and so much more.”
Where do the dollars go? Here are just a few examples of what the purchase of each tribute card can provide:
Thanks to sponsors like Tapper’s, here is an example of what recipients of gifts from JFS have to say:
And now something special from Maa Beadwork in Kenya
How far-reaching can one simple act of kindness go? Just ask Elanah and Joy who recently extended the reach of The Joy Project across the world to the Maasai Mara in Kenya. On their recent visit, they were introduced to The Maa Trust, an organization committed to helping women earn their own living by facilitating the sales of the Maasai women’s world- famous and extraordinary beadwork.
Sporting an intricately beaded bracelet on her wrist, Elanah explained, “Maa Beadwork is a community-based organization run entirely by Maasi women – women now working to take care of their families. When we saw their beautiful work, we thought why not connect with them on our project and spread the joy? Why not help them sell their bracelets to support their families in Kenya while taking care of families right here at home? With that plan now in place, we’re thrilled that Tapper’s wholeheartedly has bought into the enterprise and agreed to collaborate with Maa Beadwork, by purchasing their bracelets and donating them as this year’s special gift to The Joy Project.”
Look out for an upcoming event when Sidecar in Birmingham hosts Elanah Hunger and Marla Tapper Young as guest bartenders for the night and a portion of proceeds will go to The Joy Project. Maa bracelets will be available for purchase as well.
To send your Mother’s Day cards or to learn more about The Joy Project, please visit jfsjoyproject.org.
For immediate assistance navigating the network of social services and resources of the community: Go to jhelp.org or call 1-833-JHELP