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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


January 31, 2014  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Connect on Super Sunday

By BOB FRYER Jewish Press

If your caller ID says Superior Uniform Group is on the phone on Sunday, Feb. 9, think again. Most likely, it will be a volunteer from the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties seeking a Super Sunday donation to its 2014 Campaign for Our Jewish Future.

The uniform company, owned by the Benstock family, longtime supporters of the Federation, is donating use of its customer service center at 10055 Seminole Blvd. for the annual phone solicitation effort.

As many as 50 volunteers are expected to make calls that Sunday in hopes of topping last year’s pledges of $106,000 for the campaign. “We would like to increase that total by 10 percent,” said Elana Gootson, director of development for the Federation.

The pledges made on Super Sunday or on several days in the following week, are just part of an overall effort to raise $1.1 million during the Annual Campaign this year.

After four years of seeing the campaign decrease in pledges, due largely to the nationwide recession, last year the campaign raised just shy of $1 million – equal to the amount raised the year before. “It was good to see the declines end and to hold steady last year and this year we hope to increase funds raised by 10 percent – not just on Super Sunday, but overall,” Gootson said.

This year’s Super Sunday theme revolves around planting seeds for our future, Gootson said.

“Our most prominent message this year is the importance of planning for our future,” she said. “The Jewish Federation is the only Jewish organization that looks out for the best interest of the entire Jewish community. The work we are doing today and the support that we are asking for doesn’t always bring immediate gratification. We are strategically using our resources to plant seeds for our future … allowing our local Jewish community to grow and thrive for generations to come.”

Last year a special effort was made to ensure Super Sunday volunteers had fun in the process, and the same will be the case this year.

Lunch will be provided by Jo- El’s Specialty Foods.

Volunteers will be offered other duties, such as filing and envelope stuffing, or making “thank you” calls, as well as calling for donations. The “thank you” calls will be made to those who made pledges in advance of Super Sunday, as well as to those pledging on that day, Gootson said.

There will be a focus this year on the volunteers educating those they call of the services the Federation provides such as:

• Expanded PJ Library program to provide at no charge a book or CD for children monthly

• Youth Covenant Fund Scholarships for Jewish experiences including sleep away camp, Israel trip or March of the Living

• Young Adult Division programming

• Jewish Leadership Training institute

• Birthright Israel

• Events throughout the year like Women of Distinction and the new 8 over 80 gala

• Support of local Jewish organizations including Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services, Menorah Manor, Philip Benjamin Tower and the Jewish Press.

• Humanitarian aid to Israel

• Assistance to Jews in need elsewhere in the world

Among the volunteers making calls will be representatives from agencies the Federation supports, parents of Covenant Scholarship recipients and participants in the leadership training program.

The Super Sunday phone-a-thon will last from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Though Super Sunday and phone solicitations in the days that follow do not raise the lion’s share of funds pledged during the campaign, it is just one way of helping make people feel connected and invested in the Jewish community by making a pledge. Some fundraising takes place in one-on-one meetings, and some at other events or in other ways.

“We do have people who wait each year for the call on Super Sunday and like to make their pledge that way, but there are others who do not have landlines or there are generational differences that mean there are different ways to reach people. Some are reached through texts or e-mail blasts, others through direct mail. We try all methods to reach those in the Jewish community,” Gootson said.

She also noted that sometimes, when calls are made, the volunteers learn of people in need of financial or social services and are referred to Gulf Coast JF&CS.

Super Sunday is a national initiative offered by the Federation system seeking to reach donors at their homes to confirm their support of the annual campaigns.

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