Caring for our community.
Jewish Family Services (JFS) supports and strengthens lives throughout Greater Kansas City. We provide essential human services for people facing challenges in everyday life or times of crisis — regardless of faith, age, culture or lifestyle.
A highly-skilled and compassionate staff are dedicated to preserving the well-being, comfort, and dignity of others, always respecting the confidentiality of our clients. JFS proudly serves more than 7,000 people annually, over half of whom are not Jewish.
JFS provides a breadth of related services, with the goal of helping people in difficult times get back on their own feet. Our service areas are: Food, Shelter and Employment; Older Adult Services; Mental Health Services; Family Life Education; and Chaplaincy.
Read our Services Overview.
Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City was founded on the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, one person, one family at a time.
We began in 1901 as United Jewish Charities when five volunteer relief agencies came together to legally incorporate. During its first 20 years, UJC established its responsibility to the Jewish Community.
With no other Jewish communal organization in town, UJC began a bathhouse, a Jewish education program, a summer camp called “Bittersweet Camp,” basketball leagues, and resettlement services for Jews coming to America to build a better life. In 1919, we opened the Alfred Benjamin Dispensary with two purposes: to take care of the indigent, who could not afford medical care; and to provide a medical setting for Jewish physicians unable to secure residency in any other Kansas City hospital. The Dispensary eventually grew into the Menorah Medical Center, which precipitated the creation of the Jewish Heritage Foundation.
JFS was also the predecessor agency of the Jewish Federation and one of the founding eight agencies of the Heart of America United Way. In 1942, United Jewish Charities became United Jewish Social Services, Jewish Family Service in 1958, and Jewish Family & Children Services in 1964 as adoption services became a focus.
In 2006, our current name, Jewish Family Services was adopted. Regardless of our name, our mission of helping others in need, regardless of race or religion, has remained unchanged throughout our history.