Laura Robbin is passionate about leveling the playing field for all members of society. Inspired by her mother’s involvement with a variety of community organizations, Laura cares deeply about improving education for underserved children and solving homelessness and hunger. Putting her beliefs into action, Laura tutors students at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto in algebra and reading comprehension.
She was introduced to JFCS after the birth of her younger of two children when she sought out support at Parents Place (now part of JFCS’ Center for Children and Youth) on the Peninsula. Her good friend Alison Ross, a beloved former JFCS board president, encouraged Laura to get involved with the organization. Wanting to participate in a way that was meaningful to her, Laura was drawn to the Loans and Grants Committee as a way to help underserved communities and reduce income inequality. Years later, Laura now chairs the committee and serves on the Board of Directors. Her passion, dedication, and humble approach to service have made her a respected leader and friend of the organization.
Growing the Peninsula Food Banks
Laura has also been instrumental in helping grow JFCS’ Food Bank program on the Peninsula. She and Alison Ross teamed together to recruit and manage a group of dedicated volunteers to expand the food bank’s capacity. Through their hard work and commitment, the Mid and South Peninsula Food Banks grew into a thriving program.
She finds personal fulfillment in this work because JFCS aims not only to supply food to those in need but also to fulfill specific requests for food items whenever possible. “It’s not easy for someone to come to a food bank to get food, but by doing our best to fulfill individual requests, JFCS adds a personal touch that humanizes the experience,” says Laura.
Always thinking of the needs of those less fortunate, Laura herself donates four loaves of challah every month for clients that have requested this item.
Mobilizing the Community Help Those in Need
After the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the shelves at the Mid and South Peninsula Food Banks were running bare due to soaring demand and supply chain difficulties. Laura and Alison immediately took action to solve this issue. Working with JFCS staff, they created an online campaign to raise funds for the Food Banks and reached out to their networks. Within days, the campaign went viral and had exceeded all expectations, raising over $100,000 to help those who turn to JFCS for necessary nourishment and critical supplies. Thanks to Laura and Alison’s initiative and willingness to roll up their sleeves, hundreds of homebound seniors, people with disabilities, and families received the food they needed and were shown that their community cares.
This campaign exemplifies why Laura is such a dear friend and valued leader. JFCS, and the broader community, is fortunate to have Laura’s empathetic, driven, and action-oriented leadership.