Ruth organizes the shelves with food for the hungry in JFS Orlando’s Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry.

Sweet. Caring. Motivated. These are just some of the words that describe one of JFS Orlando’s newest volunteers: Ruth Wallace. Originally from Syracuse, NY, Ruth got married, raised her three children, and now has four grandchildren all in Florida. Thirty years after starting her family, Ruth decided to go back to school for her Masters in Nursing from the University of Florida.

Even after graduating, Ruth continues to stay busy. She volunteers at the Winter Park Library. “I scan history documents. They have all documents about Winter Park history and they’re trying to make them accessible online. So I sit there and scan!” She also attends some classes at Rollins. One day she ran into her friend, Sue Katz. “I’ve known her forever. I went to a class with her at Rollins and she mentioned that she’d volunteered here [at JFS Orlando] for a while.” This past spring, Ruth decided to follow her friend’s suggestion and started volunteering in the Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry.

Every Monday through Thursday, the Pantry is moving. Individuals and families across the Greater Orlando area come by to pick-up food. Whether it’s because hours were cut at work and their paycheck just didn’t stretch far enough, or an unexpected car or house expense came up, the Pantry assists people with one of their most basic necessities: food.

Ruth loves working in the Pantry “because you get to see the people you serve. They’re always so thankful.” She also loves seeing her fellow volunteers, like Pantry volunteer Matthew and Legal Aid Society volunteer and former judge, Leonard Fleet. “I just wish the community knew about JFS’ various services. And I hope they know this is open to everybody, not just the Jewish community.”

Thank you, Ruth, for supporting JFS and the Pantry. From filling-in when we need an extra hand to sharing your smile with clients as they come pick-up food, it’s a pleasure to have you on the JFS volunteer team!

Interested in helping your community by volunteering with JFS? Several roles are currently available, including helping out in the Pantry and behind-the-scenes office assistance. To sign up, contact us at 407-644-7593 ext. 249 or