The Wheeler Family poses during an afternoon of “family-time volunteering” in JFS Orlando’s Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry.

Volunteering is a family affair for the Wheeler Family. “It’s a group thing, all of us going and giving our time,” says Tim Wheeler. “We want to allocate time to help others.” It’s a great way for all of them, Tim, Corally, Elizabeth (age 17), and Lincoln (age 4), to spend time together. “It’s been a seasonal thing for us, but we’ve really dialed in regularly since this past fall. My wife Corally has actually been volunteering on and off for about ten years.” “We started volunteering together since about when Lincoln was born,” says Corally. “So about four years ago.”

Not only has volunteering in JFS Orlando’s Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry been a great way to get quality family time or a way for Elizabeth to get volunteer hours for the Bright Future Scholarship, but it’s been a way for the Wheelers to step out of their comfort zone and help their neighbors in need. “It’s an opportunity to help people in the community more than anything else,” says Tim. “A lot of people that come in are in tough circumstances. You can see it. And they are really appreciative for what they’re being given. This is an opportunity for us to connect with the community. It’s our time and our penance to try to help others out in the area. That’s how we look at it.”

The Wheelers have also enjoyed volunteering with JFS because of the flexibility. “It’s non-committal, you’re not locked into a specific schedule,” says Tim. “Scheduling volunteering with JFS has always been flexible. There are some other volunteer outlets that want more commitment and you’re locked into a time. It’s been nice that JFS has always been relatively flexible. It’s worked out well for our family. Because sometimes there’s just no knowing what life can throw at us schedule-wise. Also, the jobs and opportunities to serve, to be honest, are rather simple. It’s easy and light for those who are looking for ‘casual volunteering’.”

Teaching your kids about charity and giving can be difficult, but when they’re exposed to it first-hand it couldn’t be easier. “There’s more happiness in giving than receiving. When my daughter interacts with the clients at the Pantry door, I think it makes a positive impression on her. And for my son, just being able to contribute in some fashion, whether it’s having him grab a bag or box of cereal, it’s good for him to serve and get in the habit of it at such a young age.” Volunteering in the Pantry has also made an impression on Tim. “There was an older lady who was very appreciative and blessing us for helping her—just the look of joy on her face—and you can say that about several clients. It’s also the sense of gratitude you feel. Sometimes we think our life is rough until we go out and help other people and you realize we really don’t have it that bad.”

Thank you, Wheeler Family, for your years of support to JFS Orlando and our neighbors in need. You’re truly a beautiful, kind, and generous family and your love spreads to each client you greet at the Pantry door. Thank you for being a part of 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 Audrey.Cohen@JFSorlando.org.