Volunteer Spotlight: Holiday Meal Delivery Volunteers

Susan Lazarus (left) and Susie Stone (right) getting ready to deliver Passover holiday meals

Volunteering is good for the mind, body, and soul. This couldn’t be truer for JFS Orlando’s Holiday Meal Delivery volunteers. Although on the surface their job is to simply deliver food to seniors in need, it’s their generosity, dedication, selflessness, and drive to go the extra mile for people they don’t even know that truly impacts the community, (and benefits their own mental health as well!).

The Holiday Meal Delivery Program delivers meals free of charge to homebound, low income seniors in the Greater Orlando area three to four times a year, during Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Thanksgiving and/or Hanukkah. It is part of JFS’ core Jewish value of communal responsibility, to honor our parents and care for older adults. In 2018, the program delivered more than 170 meals to 67 homebound seniors.

JFS is very fortunate to have a big group of dedicated Holiday Meal Delivery volunteers. They’re one of the main reasons the program is able to continue. Although there are many more, at this time JFS would like to spotlight the following volunteers from the recent 2019 Passover meal delivery:

Julie Auerbach

Randi Cunningham

Len Fleet

Susan Lazarus

Lauren Roth

Rachel Selber-Krops

Susie Stone

Dena Wild

David Wittenstein

Susan Lazarus has volunteered with JFS Orlando since she retired back in 2012. “What I like the most about volunteering at JFS is meeting other volunteers, greeting the clients and knowing that I am making a positive impact in their lives.” She volunteers with the Holiday Meal Delivery Program and in the Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry. “I was a Guidance Counselor in Winter Park for 30+ years. A few times in the last 7 years I’ve opened the pantry door and seen one of my school family members that I told about JFS and the food pantry. That is my paycheck—Great feeling!”

In addition to volunteering at JFS, Susan volunteers at many other organizations around town, including the Ronald McDonald House, the gift shop at Ohev, and the Jewish Pavilion. She enjoys people and helping others, hence, volunteering is an important part of her daily routine. Not only does it help others, but it brings her joy as well. “When you give to others…it makes you smile…sign up, you will love helping!”

Thank you, Susan, and all our other Holiday Meal Delivery volunteers for taking the time during the holidays to deliver much more than meals, but also kind faces and kind words to seniors in our community!

Want to be a part of the JFS volunteer team? Join us and give back to your local community. Several types of opportunities are available, including pantry, office assistance, and holiday meal delivery. To sign up, contact Volunteer Coordinator, Cherryl Faye, at 407-644-7593 ext. 239 or Volunteers@JFSorlando.org.

Five Tips for Adulting with ADHD

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. One disorder worth raising awareness about is ADHD, an invisible disability. “An estimated 9% of children between ages 3–17 have ADHD. While ADHD is usually diagnosed in childhood, it does not only affect children. An estimated 4% of adults have ADHD.” (Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness)

ADHD and ADD are interchangeable terms. ADHD is the official psychiatric term. There are three types: hyperactive, inattentive, and combined (hyperactive AND inattentive). All types have in common deficits in what is called executive functioning. Executive functioning includes focus, organization, time management, and self-control—important skills that make it easier to set and accomplish goals. ADHD often co-occurs with (is accompanied by) mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder), anxiety disorders, and substance abuse disorders. All in all, it’s more difficult for a person with ADHD to get things done.

Below are five tips to improve your mental health if you have ADHD:

1. Allow extra time to do things.

If you know you are notorious for underestimating how long things take, plan to do less, much less, in the time you have allotted for work, school, errands, chores, etc. You will be less stressed and less frustrated with how little you accomplished.

2. Plan to arrive early for things.

Don’t start doing something new if you have to leave within 15 minutes. If you want to arrive on time most or all of the time, you should plan to get in the car 15 minutes before you actually need, to account for last minute delays and traffic. Rushing and weaving madly through traffic does not calm the soul.

3. Put everything you need to do in a date book and on the calendar of your phone.

Set alarms, even for daily events, like picking up kids from school or leaving work, if you tend to get so absorbed in things that you lose track of time. Getting super-absorbed in an interesting activity to the exclusion of everything else is called hyper-focusing, and is, ironically, also typical for people with ADHD. Getting a wristwatch with a timer can help you remember the little things like getting the pasta off the stove in ten minutes.

4. Take ADHD mess-ups in stride.

All your best systems will sometimes fail and you will occasionally miss deadlines, forget appointments, arrive late, lose things, blurt things out, etc. Coming to terms with this reality, even as you layer on more reminder buzzers, can be freeing. I like to say, “You laugh or you cry.” Laughing requires fewer tissues.

5. Forgive yourself for not becoming what you could have been if you had better executive functioning skills.

Forgive yourself for under-achieving or taking longer to get there than others. Having ADHD isn’t easy and should be taken into account when you pull out the ruler and see how you measure up. What? You say you can’t find your ruler? You’re in good company.

Take charge of your mental health! During this Mental Health Awareness Month, take a moment to reflect on your mental health. JFS Orlando’s licensed counselors are here to help you navigate through life’s daily struggles or those big life-changing moments.

Medicare, Medicaid and almost all commercial insurances are accepted. In addition, we’re one of the few remaining agencies in Central Florida that operates on a sliding fee scale (as low as $55 per session) for those who do not have insurance or have an insurance we do not accept. Call 407-644-7671 or email Sonja.Pollard@JFSorlando.org to schedule an appointment today!


Author: Dorrit Ram, LCSW

Dorrit Ram, LCSW, earned a Masters in Social Work (MSW) from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She is a licensed clinical social worker experienced in providing psychotherapy to teenagers and adults with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, PTSD, dissociative disorders, addiction, autism, and intellectual disability. She specializes in working with people who have experienced childhood trauma.

Dorrit utilizes an eclectic therapeutic style and a little humor to help people regain a lost connection to themselves. She offers habit reversal training for common body-focused repetitive disorders such as nail biting, skin picking, and trichotillomania (hair pulling).

Dorrit thinks that therapy is a great way to gain insight, develop self-acceptance, and make lasting changes. She conducts therapy sessions in English, Spanish, and Hebrew.

The Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry Van Gets a Facelift!

(After)

(Before)

The Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry van is a vital tool in the work that the Pantry does everyday to feed the hungry in Central Florida. Our Pantry Assistant, Audrey, uses the van to visit and pick up food from local grocery and community partners. Until recently, we used large magnets on the van to distinguish it as the JFS Orlando Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry van. However, the magnets would usually either melt onto the van under the hot Florida sun or would fly off in transit. We knew we needed a better way to brand the vehicle while also ensuring Audrey’s safety during food pick-ups.

Thanks to The Pearlman Family and to FastSigns of Orlando, the Pantry van got a facelift! Sporting the JFS Orlando colors and information, it’s ready to continue travelling around the Greater Orlando area picking up food for the hungry. (Not to mention, it is now a great marketing tool to get the word out there about JFS and our work in the community.) Keep an eye out for it when you’re on the road!

Volunteer Spotlight: Dolores Indek, Ashley Urquhart, and Wendi Szafran

JFS babysitting team (left to right): Dolores Indek, Ashley Urquhart, and Wendi Szafran

Most of the time it’s the big life-changing gestures we remember, but truly it’s the behind-the-scenes helping hand that makes it all possible. The same can be said about the JFS babysitting team.

The Family Stabilization Program (FSP) is a long-term case-management program that requires individuals to attend several educational workshops on Tuesday afternoons. Although the workshops are vital in helping participants get back on their feet, many of these clients are single parents who cannot attend without childcare. That’s why JFS began a volunteer babysitting team to watch FSP children while their parents attend workshops.

“I am providing a service for families so they are able to improve their lives. It is one less item they need to think about or stress over,” says volunteer, Wendi Szafran. Wendi has called Orlando home for most of her life. While earning her Masters in Social Work at UCF, she volunteers at various agencies around town, including JFS. She says she began volunteering on the babysitting team back in 2017 because “I was becoming much more involved in the community. I wanted to volunteer with children in different ways.” One particular moment that stood out to Wendi was when a young girl she was taking care of wanted to return to her to continue learning kids yoga instead of staying at home. “That was a heartening moment.”

Another FSP babysitting volunteer is Dolores Indek, who also volunteers in the Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry. Dolores helps out with childcare once a month or when needed. After working for Lockheed Martin for 50 years, she is now retired and volunteers around various Jewish agencies in the community. She particularly likes volunteering at JFS because of the “great feeling you get when you come here. And everyone is friendly. You feel like you’re really helping the community out. I wish the community knew what a wonderful job they do here.”

Similarly, volunteer Ashley Urquhart chose to volunteer with JFS because she wanted to help out her community and do something good. “I started volunteering about a year ago,” says Ashley. “I wanted to do something more productive with my time.” Born and raised in Florida, Ashley works full-time and enjoys hanging out with friends and staying active. She heard about JFS and thought it would be a great opportunity to give back. She loves working with the kids and coming up with fun activities for them to do. “A year ago, around Easter, I brought in Easter eggs to decorate with stickers and markers. It’s a good activity. I really liked it.” Not only does she enjoy the work she is doing, but she has connected with her team. “Everyone here is really friendly, really nice. The other volunteers I work with, they welcomed me right in, and we have our own little email chain going on. It’s a great way to give back and everyone here is super nice. It’s a great place to be.”

Thank you Wendi, Dolores, and Ashley for taking care of our FSP children and, in turn, giving their parents the chance to learn, grow, and get back on their feet. Your help is truly vital to their success!

Want to be a part of the JFS volunteer team? Join us and give back to your local community. Several types of opportunities are available, including pantry and office assistance. To sign up, contact Volunteer Coordinator, Cherryl Faye, at 407-644-7593 ext. 239 or Volunteers@JFSorlando.org.

 

 

5 Ways Volunteering Benefits Your Mental Health

Whether it’s coaching a little league team, feeding the hungry at a food pantry, or building a home for a family displaced by a natural disaster, without a doubt volunteering is something we should all do to help others in need. Although it is a selfless act, volunteering isn’t without its benefits. Here are five ways doing good does you good:

1. Provides a sense of purpose or meaning

How often do we actually get to feel we are doing something that benefits the greater good? How many times have you been sitting at your desk at work or sitting in front of the TV at home thinking that you should be doing something different with your time? You can make a difference and feel good about what you are doing with your time by volunteering. If you enjoy cooking, possibly volunteering at a soup kitchen can help you see the people that eat and enjoy your food. Seeing the changes you make in others’ lives through volunteering can help you feel a greater sense of purpose.

2. Reduces feelings of isolation or loneliness

Isn’t it hard to make friends as an adult? Volunteering can help you meet new people and not feel so lonely. You can meet people with similar interests and values as you. For instance, if you love animals, you can volunteer with your local shelter. Aside from the opportunity to interact with animals, especially if you’ve always wanted a pet but can’t afford or have time for one, this could also be a great way to meet people who love animals too. Spending time with people who enjoy the same things as you can lead to conversations and friendships outside of volunteering.

3. Creates a sense of mastery

Feeling useful and capable is important at all stages of life, especially in our younger years or as we age when we tend to feel less useful. But you can volunteer at any age or ability level. Volunteer in areas in which you feel confident. For example, if you are a retired accountant, it might be a good volunteer match to work with a program that provides tax prep to low income families and seniors. Feeling a sense of accomplishment can increase your overall self-esteem and help you in other areas of your life.

4. Keeps you physically and mentally active

Volunteering can entail many activities—making phone calls, sorting or organizing items, preparing items for pick up, cooking, data entry, and interacting with animals or other people. Often problems will arise and you will need to use your problem solving skills to figure out the best solution. These critical thinking skills are significant throughout our lives, from young children to the elderly.

How many times has your doctor suggested that you be more active, but you find it hard to do activity with little purpose? Many volunteering activities will also require you to get up and move. Volunteering with children, for example, will guarantee you movement and make increasing your activity feel more useful and fun.

5. Brings hope and helps you make a difference

There are so many large world problems that we wish we could solve, but are too overwhelming or seem unfixable. Poverty, for example, is such a complex problem we couldn’t possibly fix it on our own or right away. However, providing food assistance through a food pantry can ensure that a family living in poverty will be fed today. Though we can’t solve the world’s problems easily or by ourselves, we can at least each make a small, positive difference in someone’s life and bring hope by making a small step towards fixing a larger problem.

Interested in volunteering? Become a JFS volunteer! Several types of opportunities are available, including in the food pantry and office assistance. To sign up, contact Cherryl Faye, Volunteer Coordinator, at 407-644-7593 ext. 239 or Volunteers@JFSorlando.org.

Want some more wellness advice? JFS Orlando’s licensed counselors are specialized in various areas and are here to support you in anything, from a major life transition to routine day-to-day life. Medicare, Medicaid and almost all commercial insurances are accepted. Call 407-644-7671 or email Sonja.Pollard@JFSorlando.org to schedule an appointment today!


Author: Ashlyn Douglass-Barnes, LCSW
Ashlyn Douglass-Barnes, LCSW is the Clinical Therapist Supervisor and a licensed clinical social worker at JFS Orlando. Ashlyn has worked in a variety of settings including outpatient community based mental health, inpatient/admission psychiatric hospital, substance abuse/DUI, dialysis/medical, and in home/office outpatient therapy.

The George & Madeline Wolly Center

JFS Orlando re-dedicates building “The George & Madeline Wolly Center” at A Brunch for Madeline

On Sunday, March 31, 2019, JFS Orlando hosted A Brunch for Madeline. This was a special event held in honor of the late Madeline Wolly and all of her love and support of JFS over the years.

George and Madeline Wolly, long-time supporters and great friends of JFS, worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for the less fortunate in the community. They began their Jewish communal work in 1985 when they both joined the JFS Board of Directors. George served as Board President from 1987 – 1989 and Madeline from 1996 – 1998. For many years, they raised funds and awareness for their beloved JFS so that the most vulnerable in the community could be helped.

To recognize their efforts, the JFS building was named in honor of the late George Wolly in 2001. When Madeline passed away last year, it only seemed fitting to add her name alongside her husband’s. Included in A Brunch for Madeline was a re-dedication of the JFS building as “The George & Madeline Wolly Center”.

“Sometimes affectionately called ‘Mrs. JFS’, Madeline was the epitome of what JFS Orlando stands for,” said Executive Director, Mike McKee. “Madeline loved JFS for a reason and it’s not hard to see why. This humble building on Lee Road makes the world a better place.”

More than 10,000 individuals are positively impacted annually by the programs and services they receive at JFS. In 2018, the Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry provided food for more than 68,000 meals, the Counseling, Growth and Development Program provided nearly 2,400 counseling sessions, and the Reliable Independent Drivers for the Elderly (RIDE) program transported elderly and disabled adults to more than 600 doctor’s appointments.

JFS is proud to name its building after the Wollys and to continue the legacy of this remarkable couple by serving those in need in the Central Florida community.

A Tribute to Stanley Shader

Long-time friend and supporter of JFS Orlando, Stan Shader passed away on Sunday, March 24, 2019 at the age of 93. Stan was a native to Orlando—born at Florida Hospital. Given his family’s commitment to Judaism and serving the community, he was destined to become a great contributor to the Jewish Community. Stanley’s grandfather, Israel Shader, brought the first torah to Orlando from Pittsburgh, PA. Growing up, Stanley was an active member in AZA which led to his interest in the Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies where he served on the National Board and Executive Committee. He also served on Temple Israel’s Board and was a JFS Board member for over 15 years.

Stan’s dedication to JFS was great, so much so that he and his wife, Anne Shader, were honored during a JFS 1999 Evening of Tribute. The Orlando community was very fortunate to have such a dedicated supporter. Please join us in keeping Stan and his family in our thoughts and prayers.

How to Be Your Own Best Friend

Good relationships are important to your mental health. You have probably heard this said a million times. One oft-neglected relationship is particularly important. It’s not with your parents or siblings, your partner, or your closest friend. It is your relationship with yourself. Under normal circumstances, this relationship is non-problematic for most. However, when life turns difficult and things don’t go your way, you may find that you turn on yourself.

I have noticed that many people, myself included, are more impatient and critical of themselves than they are with others. We may be kind and cordial to everyone else, supporting them through their breakups and hardships, but when it comes to ourselves, we find fault and blame.

Whether you occasionally call yourself names or nitpick your every move, you probably speak a lot more rudely to yourself than to others. You may berate yourself for negative outcomes, even when circumstances are beyond your control. You chastise yourself, “How could I have been so dumb?” (Why are we so surprised when we act dumb? I can vouch from firsthand experience that being dumb is the easiest thing in the world!) Even when we are heartbroken by a loss, there is a tendency to feel guilty in addition to sad. This is perfectly “normal” behavior and it makes us miserable. The intention of the internal critic is good, but the outcome is devastating.

Life is difficult and everyone flubs up not just a little, but a lot. Those are exactly the times, when it is important to be kind, gentle, and forgiving with yourself. It may seem more natural to give yourself a good firm scolding, but that actually weakens you when strength is most needed. Thankfully, self-criticism, like any habit, can be broken if noticed. Here are three ways to be your own best friend, instead of your biggest critic:

1. Notice how you speak to yourself by noticing your mood.

When you criticize yourself, you will generally feel inadequate, ashamed or guilty. A good rule of thumb is never to say anything to yourself that is too mean to say to a good friend. For example, your friend just called you up for some consolation because they gambled and lost $1000 in a river cruise. Would you rip them a new one or would you help them feel better?

2. Follow (my proposed addendum to) the “Golden Rule”: “Do unto yourself as you would do unto others.”

There is some research into what is referred to as “positive self-talk.” What has been found to be most useful is to speak encouragingly to yourself in the second or third person. So instead of saying, “I” say “you” or call yourself by your first name (if you are on a first name basis). For example, “You did your best. It was harder than you thought. Next time will be better.” You may find that a little forgiveness goes a long way to easing your mind and helping you live with yourself.

3. Be forgiving with yourself.

I work with a teenager who is very hard on herself and feels inadequate a lot of the time as a consequence. Like a lot of people who are self-critical, she is a perfectionist. She really liked this example I shared with her. I told her, if you had a toddler just learning to walk and he fell, would you call him a klutz or an idiot and tell him he will never learn to walk? Or would you say, “That’s ok, let’s try again” and encourage him. She has been treating herself in a forgiving manner, which she calls “babying myself” and has found that she is happier.

You may say, “I’m not a toddler and I should know better.” I will recount one of my favorite sayings, which is by Mark Twain. He said, “Experience is recognizing a mistake every time you make it.” We will repeat the same mistakes over and over again because change is difficult. But finally, we learn and just like that, another mistake comes along….time to be understanding and forgiving, again.

When I started to write this article, I bumped up against my nemesis, the internal literary critic that feels obligated to sprinkle words of discouragement whenever I try to write something. I began scouring my mind for ways to weasel out of writing this because I suddenly felt so ill-equipped. I try to take my own advice sometimes. Doing so, I said to myself, “Dorrit, you can do this. You have written a million papers for school and they all turned out fine in the end.” With that little reminder, I was able to write the article which you have just read. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fast but it is done and you too can do what you need to do with a little help from your internal critic turned friend.

Doing some spring cleaning? In addition to cleaning out your closet or tidying up your home, consider some mental health spring cleaning. JFS Orlando’s licensed counselors are specialized in various areas and are here to support you in anything you may be going through, from a major life transition to routine day-to-day life. Medicare, Medicaid and almost all commercial insurances are accepted. Call 407-644-7593 ext. 247 or email Ashlyn.Douglass-Barnes@JFSorlando.org to schedule an appointment today!


Author: Dorrit Ram, LCSW

Dorrit Ram, LCSW, earned a Masters in Social Work (MSW) from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She is a licensed clinical social worker experienced in providing psychotherapy to teenagers and adults with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, PTSD, dissociative disorders, addiction, autism, and intellectual disability. She specializes in working with people who have experienced childhood trauma.

Dorrit utilizes an eclectic therapeutic style and a little humor to help people regain a lost connection to themselves. She offers habit reversal training for common body-focused repetitive disorders such as nail biting, skin picking, and trichotillomania (hair pulling).

Dorrit thinks that therapy is a great way to gain insight, develop self-acceptance, and make lasting changes. She conducts therapy sessions in English, Spanish, and Hebrew.

Volunteer Spotlight: Peggy Leonard and Matthew Poweski

If you happen to visit the Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry on a Thursday morning, you’ll run into pantry volunteer dream team: Peggy and Matthew. Both agree they love working at the Pantry because they like to stay busy and because there’s good people. “I really fell in love with Heather (the Pantry Manager), Amanda (the former Volunteer Coordinator), and Audrey (the Pantry Assistant),” says Peggy. “They’re great. And I’ve got the best partner in the world: Matthew! We’re the A Team.”

Before volunteering with JFS, Peggy was a deputy with the sheriff’s office for 35 years. After retiring, and even after having her knee replaced, she enjoys staying active by playing tennis, biking three days a week, and swimming. She also enjoys working part-time at Universal in loss-prevention. She started volunteering at JFS Orlando a couple years ago after seeing an ad in the newspaper classifieds. “They told me to come try it out and I fell in love with this place.” She’s enjoyed getting to know the JFS staff, as well as the people that come to pick up food. She also loves to keep busy. “If you want to stay busy, this is a great place to volunteer. Some places are so redundant and boring. When Audrey comes she comes with a van full of stuff. And we have to quickly sort the vegetables and the fruit, and put them in the right places, and get rid of the bad stuff. My two hours go by so fast sometimes I think I’ve only been here 20 minutes!”

Similarly, Matthew says he volunteers at the Pantry because “it gets me out of the apartment. I don’t like sitting at home doing nothing. I rather be here, giving food to people who need it.” Matthew first got involved with the Pantry as a RAISE (Recognizing Abilities & Inclusion of Special Employees) employee in 2014. After he graduated the six-month program, he decided to keep volunteering because he liked how fun it is and the good energy he gets from “giving food to people that can’t always afford to go food shopping and making them happy. They say ‘Thank you’ and ‘God bless you’ and ‘I’m thankful for what you’re doing’. They’re very grateful. There have been a lot of people that cry. Sometimes I wish I could give them more food!”

Thank you, Peggy and Matthew, for working so hard every week to help hungry families in our community. We enjoy working with you both and appreciate everything you do for us and the Pantry!

Want to be a part of the JFS volunteer team? Join us in fighting hunger and giving back to your community by becoming a JFS volunteer! Several types of opportunities are available, including in the pantry and office assistance. To sign up, contact Cherryl Faye, Volunteer Coordinator, at 407-644-7593 ext. 239 or Volunteers@JFSorlando.org.

Volunteer Spotlight: Issy Beham, Harold Plessner, Dolores Indek, and Joan Schwebel

(Left to Right) Issy Beham, Harold Plessner, Dolores Indek, and Joan Schwebel

From Orlando or South Africa, retired or in their 20s, volunteering for one month or for five years, JFS Orlando volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. However, all can agree on one thing: volunteering at JFS is worthwhile and meaningful.

“It just feels good!” says Harold Plessner, who’s volunteered in the Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry for over two years. Originally from South Africa, Harold grew up in the States and has lived in Florida most of his life. He started volunteering for JFS after he retired a few years ago. “Living in Orlando for seven years, we’ve always contributed to JFS because we like what they do. And then finally, when I retired, I had free time. I thought instead of just contributing, I’d physically do something.” Harold volunteers in the Pantry on Tuesdays, usually teaming up with long-time JFS volunteer, Dolores Indek.

Dolores has volunteered with JFS for over five years and works in both the Pantry and with babysitting for the Family Stabilization Program (FSP). After working for Lockheed Martin for 50 years, she is now retired and volunteers around various Jewish agencies in the community. Like Harold, she is a JFS donor and loves volunteering “because you see where all your donations and your money goes. The people come to the door, you hand them the bag. When people come in a wheelchair, or they take a bus, or they had to call a cab or ride a bike just to get here to get the food, it’s those kinds of things that really stand out.” She says she gets a great feeling from helping her community out and, as an added bonus, gets to work with friendly people while she does it. Friendly people like new volunteer, Joan Schwebel.    

Although Joan has only been volunteering in the JFS Pantry for a month, she already feels connected to the agency. Like Dolores, she likes to volunteer around the community, including for volunteer organization, Hadassah. When she came to JFS to drop-off Hadassah’s end-of-year donation, she had the opportunity to speak with Cherryl Faye, JFS Volunteer Coordinator. “Cherryl said they needed volunteers and I said ‘I can do that!’ so that’s how I got started.” So far, Joan has liked working in the Pantry because “we’ve been very busy and I like being busy. I like to feel like I’m doing something. And I like interacting with the people. We’ve had a constant stream of people.” Joan has been able to see first-hand how many families the Pantry serves and how great the need is, something that former Pantry Assistant, Issy Beham, knows all too well.

Issy first came to JFS when she was 20 and in college. Looking for a nonprofit to volunteer at for a class, she found JFS and immediately knew this was where she wanted to volunteer. “JFS is so efficient and organized and everyone is super nice. It’s a great community and it’s a really well-run organization.” She loved it so much she soon became the Pantry Assistant. In this role she had the chance to see and do it all, everything from carrying 2,000 lbs. of donated Matzah to seeing the quality of food in the pantry improve. “Over these five years I’ve seen how much healthier the food has gotten. We’ve gotten some more produce, and when I started we didn’t even have a produce fridge.” Although Issy’s tenure as the Pantry Assistant ended in 2016, when she recently moved back to Orlando she decided to continue volunteering at JFS. She says there is value in volunteering here because “you see things from other people’s perspectives. Because we have so many different volunteers from so many different backgrounds. And so many clients from different backgrounds, it really challenges you to see things from other people’s perspectives.”

Thank you to Dolores, Joan, Issy, and Harold for your time and support and for adding to the diversity of backgrounds and experiences in our volunteer program. JFS truly couldn’t run without the work of amazing volunteers like you!

Want to be a part of the JFS volunteer team? Join us in fighting hunger and giving back to your community by becoming a JFS volunteer! Several types of opportunities are available, including in the pantry and office assistance. To sign up, contact Cherryl Faye, Volunteer Coordinator, at 407-644-7593 ext. 239 or Volunteers@JFSorlando.org.