Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford

Tara's Closet brings mental illness into the open

This Jewish communal initiative helps those coping with mental illness inspired by a young woman who lost her life to bi-polar disorder.

Tara Savin grew up in West Hartford and attended the Kingswood Oxford School, where she co-edited the yearbook and was voted “Best Dressed.” She graduated summa cum laude from Boston University with a BA in International Studies and a minor in Women’s Studies, and stayed on to earn a master’s degree in Mass Communications. After working at Town & Country Magazine in Manhattan, she completed her Master of Social Work degree at Fordham University and returned to Hartford in 2010 for an internship with Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford (JFS). That year, at age 38, Tara Savin lost the battle.

JFS has launched Tara’s Closet, a program that brings together Savin’s two greatest passions. “Tara was a great humanitarian and she also had incredible jobs in New York in fashion,” says Savin’s mother, Barbara Roth.

Tara’s Closet comprises a dual mission: to provide clothing to JFS clients in a confidential and dignified manner, and to raise funds to spread awareness about mental illness and the related help provided by JFS.

“Our overriding goal is to take mental illness out of the closet,” says Roth. “We hope to break the ceiling on mental health and mental illness in the community because people are very much afraid of it and afraid to talk about it.”

Jewish Family Services clients, JETS participants, and other members of the community who are having difficulty meeting their clothing needs may visit Tara's Closet when it is open.

Tara’s Closet will be open four times a year and staffed by volunteers who will help JFS clients choose items for themselves and their families.

Hours of Tara's Closet at 180 Still Road, Bloomfield:

August 1-10 [M-Th 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and F 10 a.m. to noon]

Tara's Closet at Jewish Family Services serves all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation.  We gratefully acknowledge ongoing contributions from individuals, synagogues, community groups, and businesses, including Congregation B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom in Bloomfield, Rabbi Debra Cantor, and Esquire Cleaners.

Clothing Donation Instructions: We thankfully accept lovingly worn clothing & outerwear for men, women, teens & children. We cannot accept undergarments, shoes, boots, socks, and swimwear. Clothing Donation bags are available at JFS.

Tuesdays for Tara Collection Dates at Congregation B'nai Tikvoh-Sholom 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Tuesday, September 20 [Fall and Winter clothing please]

To make a monetary contribution to Tara's Closet, you may donate online through the Donate Now page of our website.  If you prefer to donate via mail, please make your check out to Jewish Family Services, or JFS, write “Tara's Closet” on the memo line and mail it to Jewish Family Services, 333 Bloomfield Avenue, Suite A, West Hartford, CT 06117.  If you prefer to donate via telephone, please call Patti Weiner at 860-236-1927, extension 7129.