They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Well, if you were among the 376 guests attending the Diamond Jubilee of the Jewish Family and Children’s Service, you would have had a chance to feast your eyes on plenty of bling at the table of Judith Ripka jewelry, part of the event’s silent auction. Sure, there were the usual tickets to professional sports events and gift baskets galore, but for the big spenders, the sky was the limit.

To give just one example, the starting bid on a Judith Ripka set of 18K gold earrings with color stone, blue quartz, and 0.65 karats’ worth of micro pave was $2,300. Starting price for a sterling silver “linen” bangle with oval stone, diamonds, and blue quartz? A cool $750. Clearly, for a 75th anniversary, people are expected to think big.

In 1937, when a small group of women recognized the need for a community lifeline — a confidential and safe place for families to seek help — they had the vision that one family can help another family through difficult times. And so the tradition of 75 years of “families helping families” was launched.

Today JFCS offers a wide range of social services and programs including prevention and support services for developing the skills and resources to cope with all types of life cycle transitions or crises; counseling services; Kosher food pantry; student tutoring; holiday outreach and financial assistance; elder care services; community education and support; teen counseling and peer education for teens; domestic violence support; grief and bereavement programs; re-employment assistance; childhood social skills programs; programs for families with children with special needs; and advocacy to residents throughout greater Mercer County, regardless of denomination.

In 2010 to 2011 JFCS assisted more than 4,800 individuals, including families in need, seniors and their adult children, couples and individuals, and victims of trauma and violence. Approximately 85 percent of the $120,000 net raised at the gala goes directly to programs and services.

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