Marcia Schechter is a woman who makes a difference. For the past 10 years, Marcia has visited 50 to 60 older Jewish adults per month throughout the Lehigh Valley. Jewish Family Service is committed to providing outreach to older adults who may not otherwise participate in the Jewish community.
“I try to do what I can” to help people enjoy their day and feel connected to the Jewish community, said Marcia, who works on older adult outreach for JFS. Over the years she has cultivated deep and meaningful relationships with many of the people she visits.
Initially, she said, some people wondered why they were getting a visit from JFS. It takes time, she said, but even a conversation beginning with “Do you want a copy of a Jewish newspaper?” can bridge the gap and help her ask more detailed questions about how these people are feeling and living life.
For the holidays, Marcia has been delivering special High Holy Day baskets to all those she visits. For many of these individuals, this may be the only way they recognize or celebrate the holiday.
Marcia offers an opportunity for the older adult to socialize and when someone is dealing with a more serious issue, she may refer them to one of the JFS social workers who can reach out to provide therapeutic services as appropriate.
When Marcia was asked about her reason for continuing these visits for a full 10 years, she answered, “The reason JFS exists is to help people,” and she sees herself as part of this important mission for our community.
Even bringing books of a favorite genre to a person who is unable to drive can change the way a person experiences their day and feels about their life, Marcia said.
“I enjoy being part of their lives and being able to connect them with the community,” she said of the older adults she visits. “Sometimes you really can make a difference.”