Join our community-wide effort to embrace families in need for the holidays

The Embrace-a-Family Program provides gifts to nearly 400 JFS clients and their families each year. It’s a meaningful way to give back with your coworkers or family members. And we need your support more than ever.


There’s more than one way to be an Embracer—each makes the holidays brighter for individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet.

Get Matched with a Family

We’ll send you a description of who you’re embracing, and the items on their holiday wish list.

Make a Donation

Cash donations cover the costs of last minute gift purchases and help us reach families who aren’t matched with an Embracer.

“We cannot begin to express our gratitude for what was given to our family. Your kindness will never be forgotten.”


Read more about how it works below, or talk to a member of our Volunteer Engagement team. They’re here to help you get started.

How It Works

Getting Matched with a Family

Embracers are matched 1-on-1 with a family or older adult client at JFS. Once you register as an Embracer, we’ll provide you with a description of who you’re embracing – including the age and gender of any children – and the items on each family member’s wish list.

Not sure about embracing an entire family, but still want to help?

We think that’s great! You can still participate by donating new or unused toys, gifts for men or women, hygiene items, or gift cards. Cash donations are also greatly appreciated for last minute gifts.

Donation Drop-off

Items can be dropped off at the JFS storage facility in early December. We will email you with the details and location as we get closer to the drop-off date.

Unwrapped gifts, please

We believe in dignity above all else. The holiday season can be especially challenging for parents who can’t afford gifts for their children. We request unwrapped gifts and wrapping paper so parents can be included in the gift-giving process. Thank you for lifting up these families by allowing them to celebrate together. You are welcome to wrap gifts for households of one or those without children.

Confidentiality and Meeting the Families

In order to protect the confidentiality of our Embrace-A-Family recipients, we keep their names and contact information private. And we are unable to arrange meetings between families and their embracers. Thank you for working with us to preserve the dignity and privacy of our clients. We appreciate your support.

Start Your Volunteer Story

JFS is committed to creating meaningful opportunities for people of all ages to come together in service to our community. From mentoring youth to helping older adults feel more connected, find the opportunity that speaks to you.

Fundraise with JFS

Fundraise with JFS Celebrate a bar or bat mitzvah, birthday, wedding, anniversary, or other milestone by encouraging friends to give to a cause you care about at JFS.

Join Our Emerging Leaders

Emerging Leaders are young professionals committed to bettering themselves and the community. We have a big vision for San Diego — come be a part of it.