Moments of Connection: First-Person Stories from JFCS Volunteers
  • Stories & Testimonials
  • Volunteers

Sharing stories is a powerful way to connect with community and learn about one another, and we encourage our volunteers to share stories from their experiences at JFCS. Below are some first-hand accounts of how our volunteers are changed by the beautiful acts of Hessed (kindness) they do in their work with JFCS and our clients.

Donna Borok Moss and Other JFCS Marin Volunteer

Donna Borok Moss/JFCS Marin Volunteer

“For most of my adult life, I have been involved in the world of animal rescue. Being an animal lover, I have volunteered for many animal non-profits. However, I began to feel the need to give back to my community in a more human way.

After my retirement, I began researching my family’s Jewish roots and our connection to Judaism. Through my extensive genealogical journey, it spurned me into action and it was then that I decided to volunteer with JFCS. In 2018, I initially started packing and delivering holiday food parcels, and then moved on to delivering groceries each week with the Seniors at Home program. I have grown to take on more duties at JFCS and I love each and every one of my “jobs” there.

From the moment I walked in the doors at JFCS, I felt right at home. The environment is filled with staff and volunteers who are warm, engaging, and all filled with the goal of helping our community. The encouragement and support I receive from the staff are very special.

But the true joy I get each week is seeing the appreciation of my clients when I bring them their weekly food packages. I know I am helping support a huge need in the world of food insecurity. I am grateful for the opportunity to meet and connect with these people in a meaningful way. It’s a win-win … I get to perform a mitzvah while helping those in need.

This is my Tikkun Olam … my small way of helping repair the world and bringing me even closer to my Jewish heritage.”

Pat Blackburn

Pat Blackburn/JFCS San Francisco Volunteer

Pat has been volunteering at JFCS for 4 years. She started by making calls for the Safe at Home program during the pandemic, and has since expanded her repertoire to include pantry bagging, delivering groceries to multiple clients a month, helping to run Café By the Bay events, cooking and delivering meals through the Chicken Soupers program, and calling clients personally to gather their pantry lists for the month and check in. The dedication that Pat has put into JFCS and our clients has a huge impact on the clients that she serves, and the kind energy she brings to the volunteer work is contagious.

Pat shares about what motivates her to volunteer: “It’s the clients for sure. I feel a close relationship with them! I’m paying it forward and I hope someone will do it for me one day.”

She also loves connecting with clients on a personal level:

“I absolutely love the Safe at home calls, and feel a close relationship to the people I speak to. I spoke to someone awhile ago, in her 80s, who bought a guitar and taught herself how to play. She started writing songs on her own, and I asked her to play one for me, and she did! It was in a totally different language, but we both laughed, and I very much enjoyed being part of that experience with her.”

Sigal KletterSigal Kletter/JFCS Peninsula Volunteer

“As a child, I saw my parents’ volunteer. Now I volunteer throughout my adult years. My children also saw their parents’ volunteer. Now they volunteer as well. It’s a way of life.

In my mind, volunteering has few aspects, benefits, if you will:

There is the emotional and personal benefit of a self-well-being ‘exercise’. It makes me feel good about myself, and boost my mood. But volunteering is also a social action. It’s an opportunity to support, help, connect and know better the communities I live within, that are all around me.

In my mind, being one of any community, is part of a kindness-gratitude circle: The kinder you are to others—the more kindness you receive in return—the more grateful you are—the kinder you are etc. I believe we are all made in G-D’s image, all unique and special, and there is nothing that I find more interesting than get to know other people, traditions and cultures to interact with. I gained so many friends, and friendships through these experiences!”

Explore our Volunteer Opportunities here.

Posted by Admin on September 5, 2023