Give People the Reason and the Chance to Give

July 12, 2021

Give People the Reason and the Chance to Give

The Food Pantry isn’t going to make it into next week,” were the words Tara Kornblum heard from Anat Granath, JF&CS Holocaust Services case manager, on March 13, 2020. It was the early days of the Pandemic. Schools were closing down. Kids would need food. The demand would surge.

That was enough for Tara. She and her mom ran to Costco, and bought a carload of food and brought it to JF&CS. Then, she posted the need on her Facebook page and raised over $5,000 overnight.

After posting another impassioned plea for help, she raised $22,000 in funds for the food pantry.

JF&CS soon received funds from the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta to help meet the need. But, logistics were a real problem. There were shortages everywhere. You couldn’t just buy whatever you wanted.

“Josh and I would get up at 6 am and be the first ones at the grocery store so that we could buy what we needed for the pantry before it was gone,” Tara recalled. “You could only buy a few cans of a vegetable, rather than 10 at a time,” she said.

So, Tara organized shoppers to hit the grocery stores, recruiting friends of hers and the agency who could help. Leslie Frohman, Brian Seitz, Rachel Berenthal, Sharon Hochdorf, Helene Popowski, Amy Nichols and Katie Simmons, were some of the people who stepped up and planned weekly shopping trips to support the food pantry.

She continued working closely with the shoppers for close to a year, until Feb 2021.

Jean Millkey, the Kosher Food Pantry Manager, shared, “Without Tara's critical assistance, we wouldn't have had the funding, the food, or the person-power to increase our pantry from pre-covid annual levels of 18,000 lbs.  to 250,000 lbs. of food distributed over the past year.”

When reflecting on her deeds, she simply states “None of this would have been possible without my husband, Josh."

From Food Pantry to 40th Birthday Wishes

Tara had been planning an amazing 40 days of travel for her 40th birthday. But with the Pandemic, she knew she wasn’t going anywhere, soon.

“I wanted to do something for my birthday that really made a difference,” she said.

Just before Christmas, Tara arranged for Jeckil Promotions to provide gifts for families that were not able to give their children gifts for the holidays. She was helping Jean Millkey deliver the presents. Tara met one of the families, and they were living in their car. She learned from the father that they hadn’t been able to pay rent and lost all of their belongings when they were evicted.

This interaction became personal for Tara. She asked how much he was short and gave him the money. She told him to get the apartment, and she would furnish it. Then she posted on Facebook asking for furniture donations from friends, and soon had enough furniture for the entire apartment. Her associates in the event industry all jumped in to support the effort providing u-hauls to transport the items to the family’s apartment.

After seeing this transformational impact that the community could have on this one family, Tara set a goal for her birthday. She was going to raise $40,000 for her 40th birthday for the emergency assistance fund.

“I solicited every person and asked them to donate in honor of my birthday. I asked them to help with rent assistance, and they gave so much more. I was truly humbled by my friends and family’s support and by members of the community, who I don’t know, and heard the plea and participated.”

By the end of her campaign, Tara zoomed past her $40,000 goal. She raised $76,000 for emergency assistance.

“It was a privilege to receive Tara’s call of support for emergency assistance in honor of her birthday. She is a passionate volunteer and understands JF&CS from the fundraising to the program side. She is not afraid of hard work. Regardless of the amount raised, I knew Tara’s birthday campaign would be successful,” said Stacy Fialkow, Major Gifts and Legacy Officer.

Her goal for this campaign was not just to help 40 families with 40 months of emergency assistance, but it was hopefully to instill in everyone that you can make a difference in someone else’s life.

When asked what she would say to others who are nervous about trying to raise money, Tara said, “Just go for it. Try it. See what happens. Give people the reason and the chance to give.”

To learn more about starting a fundraising campaign, please contact Jessica Katz Yonatan at

How it Started

Just after college, at the young age of 23, Tara Kornblum moved to Atlanta and contacted JF&CS. She had no idea that one phone call could lead to years of volunteer impact at the agency.

After meeting Tara and seeing how incredibly organized and efficient she was, former Chief Marketing Officer, Brenda Fiske, asked her to be a marketing intern. Shortly after, she received a full-time job offer from B’nai Torah, and was encouraged to take it. Brenda told her she could make an incredible impact as a volunteer helping JF&CS. And help she did, from chairing Havinagala, to Arts for Independence, Empty Bowl, and the InterAct Committee. She was 25 when she joined the Board of Directors, and chaired the Annual Campaign twice. In later years, she chaired Community of Caring and Tools for Leaders, and helped on many annual campaigns. In 2017, she received the Herbert Kohn Meritorious Service Award for her volunteer efforts. She was a member of the board for more than 10 years, and continues to volunteer, organize and inspire people at JF&CS.

Annual Campaign 2015: Rashelle Berry and Tara Kornblum