May 17, 2024

Dear JFCS Family,

On Monday, JFCS hosted our annual volunteer appreciation breakfast. What a wonderful way to start our week and celebrate the more than 200 volunteers who support our clients on a regular basis.

Last week, I was out to dinner at Saddle Hill Restaurant when one of the servers noticed the JFCS logo on the back of my phone. She stopped to tell me how JFCS changed her life, sharing that one of our volunteers “helped me have the courage and bravery I needed to overcome my issues and change my life.” She was a client of our Betsy & Peter Fischer Food Pantry and formed a bond with the volunteer who delivered her food on a regular basis. “He never judged me and didn’t make me feel ashamed.” In addition to food, our staff provided counseling and case management, and the combination of these services allowed her to lift herself up out of poverty.

Volunteerism has always been a core part of our agency – we couldn’t carry out our mission without our volunteers!. So often, our volunteers underestimate the impact of their work, but it is extremely valuable! Last year, JFCS volunteers provided over 11,000 hours of service, valued at over $380,000.

They delivered food, visited seniors, drove older adults to doctors appointments, provided minor handyman assistance, volunteered at our TOPS day-habilitation program, supported clients at our Soups and Sweets culinary training program, and much more.

Many of us are distraught when we watch the nightly news. The world is a very complicated and difficult place right now. When I find myself feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I take a step back and think about the work we do at JFCS. The dedication of our volunteers renews my faith in humanity. Simply put, our volunteers make us better. They are the heart and soul of our community, donating their time and energy to improve lives.

On this late Friday afternoon, just before Shabbat, I just want to recognize our incredible Volunteer Department: Sherri Jonas, Wendy Hernberg, and Miranda Mason! We are truly blessed by their kindness, caring, and commitment – combined with the expertise that they provide. I know that our world is a better place because of all they do. Thank you to the committee and staff who planned Monday’s appreciation event led by Sherri Jonas including Wendy Hernberg, Miranda Mason, Carly Schaffer, Ashly Weingardt, Temima Rothmel, as well as Jill Hammel, Howard Jonas, Tony Saura, and Rachael Ovitz.

Wishing you peace and love on this Shabbat and every day.


All my best,

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Raechel Hammer