Jewish Family Services of WNC, Inc. is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Your contribution is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.  Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Branch at 919-807-2214. The license is not an endorsement by the State. (EIN#: 45-2497063)

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JFS Funders


JFS Affiliations

JFS Sponsors

JFS Patron Sponsors


JFS Sustainer Sponsors



JFS Contributor Sponsors

Brandon Consulting

Leah Karpen

Janise & Rick Silverman

Edward & Elaine Tennen

Alison B. Gilreath, MSW

JFS Executive Director

Alison has had a 30+ year career in start-up and other organizations in Connecticut, Boston, Los Angeles, and since 1992, here in Asheville, NC. In 1999, after 20 years of work in management in the private sector, Alison founded the WNC Jewish Council On Aging (JCOA) and created the Elder Day Club group respite program at the Asheville Jewish Community Center (JCC). As JCOA Director she administered a variety of programs for older adults and their families. In 2007, she implemented the transformation of JCOA into Jewish Family Services of WNC (JFS), a program of the JCC. As JFS Director, she expanded services to meet the needs of families and individuals of all ages. In 2011, she oversaw the process of JFS becoming an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the subsequent move to independent space in 2013, and the agency growth and expansion that continues to better serve the community.

Alison grew up in suburban Connecticut, and spent a post-high school year in Israel at a Youth Leadership Institute that included studies in Jerusalem and part of the year living and working on a kibbutz. From there she attended and graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Sociology. In 2010 she achieved a life-long goal when she received her Masters degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Alison has been an active participant and supporter of Jewish organizations as well as involved in community and cultural activities. She is happily married and lives with her husband Frank and their Wheaten Terrier Cosmo. She also is a proud mother of three adult children and two adult step-children, and grandmother of one granddaughter, two step-grandsons, and a step-granddaughter.


Anne Wainer, MSS, LCSW-A

JFS Social Worker/Case Manager; Elder Club Supervisor; Psychotherapist

Anne Wainer is a 7 year Ashevillian, relocated from Philadelphia and grateful to be back to her roots working as a social worker serving a diverse population at a time of great growth at this agency.  Anne brings to JFS a great love of humanity, Jewish values and traditions, and humility that comes from years of life experience, spent teaching, nurturing her son, cultivating the spirit, and working with others who share similar goals of helping people find balance and sustenance locally and globally through direct service and through raising awareness and working for social justice.  Ms. Wainer has earned a masters degree in clinical social work, has worked as a therapist with at-risk children, individuals and families, has worked on policy reform, and has created art, jewelry, judaica, and clothing, and enjoys cooking.  Anne Wainer is glad to be at Jewish Family Services of WNC where she serves as Social Work Case Manager & Psychotherapist (specializing in older adult and end of life challenges), helps coordinate and supervise the Elder Club, volunteers, Kosher Holiday Meals, and a bit of everything in service to clients and the community at this can-do agency.


Christina Jacob, MSW, LCSW

JFS Licensed Clinical Social Worker-Psychotherapist

Christina has lived in West Asheville for almost 20 years. She is originally from West Virginia and has lived in several other states on the East Coast since college. She has also traveled and lived abroad. Her joy in spending time with her grandparents led her to obtain an MSW from UNC-Chapel Hill with a concentration in Services to the Aged and their Families. Her professional experience runs the gamut, from being a case manager/program administrator for a county council on aging; working as a home health social worker and being part of a team providing intensive community-based case management to mentally ill adults. She is married to a social worker and has three children between the ages of 7 and 17. Christina believes that every person has the capacity to live a fulfilling and healthy life, but that it takes hard work to achieve that goal. She will utilize the therapeutic techniques at her disposal (incl. CBT, MI, Solution-Focused and Supportive), as well her sense of humor and patience to help.


Debbie Crane, MSW, LCSW, ACSW

JFS Licensed Clinical Social Worker-Psychotherapist

Debbie grew up within the (small) Jewish Community in Wichita, Kansas and earned her MSW from the University of Kansas. Since then she has lived in several US cities, including Chicago, Miami, Houston and Charlotte. She has many years of experience in helping people through challenging times, and has developed several mottos which form the basis of her clinical work. They include, “If it is possible in the world, it is possible for you. It is just a matter of HOW” and “Pray toward Heaven and Row toward Shore.”  She bases her clinical style on this idea: “Seek First to Understand.”



Deborah Wood, MSW, LCSW

JFS Licensed Clinical Social Worker-Psychotherapist

Debbie has had the opportunity of living in Puerto Rico, New York, and California. She is now settled with her family in Asheville NC, and close to her aging father. Her work experience started in the military when she joined the US Coast Guard and completed four years. Afterwards, she attended Mars Hill College where she earned her undergraduate degree in Social Work, pursued certification as a Life Coach with Totally Coached©, and then attended East Tennessee State University where she completed her masters degree in 2006 with a concentration in clinical social work. After school, she worked at a local hospital performing psychological evaluations in the emergency department and clinical social work on the inpatient psychiatric and detox unit. She has now joined Jewish Family Services and looking forward to assisting people reach their desired goals.


Nicole Peirolo

JFS Elder Club Facilitator (Asheville & Hendersonville)

Nicole comes to Jewish Family Services after spending over 20 years involved in Mental Health and Human Services, working in Connecticut, Florida, and North Carolina treatments centers and therapeutic group homes. Nicole is honored and grateful to be serving the Jewish Community by starting out as a volunteer with the Elder Clubs for JFS, and now, working on staff with the privileged position of the Elder Club Facilitator, getting to share time and space with the very best group of elders she has ever met! She looks forward to offering support, encouragement, and fun nurturing activities to the Elder Clubs in Asheville and Hendersonville.

Moving to North Carolina in 1994, her special interests include hiking, camping, traveling to the beach, animals, reading and studying all things Jewish, including Israeli dance and learning Hebrew.

Nicole resides in Asheville with her very special rescue cat Goldielox.


Elizabeth Drake                                                                           

JFS Staff Accountant

Liz is a native of Chicago who moved to the Asheville area in 2003.  She received a BS in Resource Conservation and a JD from the University of Florida.  She worked as a legal aid lawyer in Arizona before having her kids. 

Liz lives in Weaverville with her husband, their two kids and a bunch of pets including a dog, a cat and a variety of other animals. She is the the only person in her family who has not yet learned to unicycle. She loves to hike, garden, and camp.


Judy Avalon                                                                          

JFS Administrative Assistant

Judy is our JFS Administrative Assistant, providing administrative support to staff members, programs and agency operations, and greeting our clients and visitors when they call or come into the office. 

Judy came here from South Florida in 2011 with her partner, Nancy to enjoy the fresh air and mountains. With experience working and volunteering  at a wide range of non-profit agencies, most recently with Legal Aid of North Carolina, Judy joins in to serve the Jewish community by becoming the Administrative Assistant at Jewish Family Services. Judy enjoys reading, various forms of needlework and yoga.