April is Volunteer Appreciation Month, a month to recognize the impact volunteers make on our businesses and in our community. More than 80 active volunteers from all over the Lehigh Valley help Jewish Family Service realize our vision that no one in our community should suffer hunger, isolation, abandonment, emotional or physical distress, or lack of community support and caring. They do this by delivering and visiting with Mazel Meal clients, driving older adults to appointments, being a friendly phone caller, leading holiday programs at long-term care residences, and helping in the community food pantry.
Each year, JFS celebrates volunteers by hosting an appreciation event to say thank you and show gratitude. “The time and compassion given by volunteers is enhancing the lives of our clients by helping them feel less isolated and more connected to the Jewish community,” says Debbie Zoller, executive director.
The volunteer department at JFS is run by Jennifer Oxfeld, a former elementary school educator who found her niche as a volunteer for many Jewish agencies. She is well aware of how good it feels to give back to the community. Jennifer takes special care to match each potential volunteer with the opportunity that is the right fit for their interests. “Our volunteers continually tell me how much they enjoy what they do, and how good it feels to be a part of the important work of JFS,” says Oxfeld.
Jennifer joined the agency in 2021 and has grown the volunteer corps by 25% since her start. Volunteers are cross-trained to be able to help out in a variety of roles in order to increase the impact of JFS on the lives of clients. “This has resulted in an increased number of volunteers; which has allowed JFS to be able to provide more volunteer-led programs to reach a larger clientele base,” says Oxfeld.
Oxfeld continues, “It is my honor and privilege to know them all. For some people, a job is just that … a job. For me, my job is about all of the people who I get to interact with on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Working for JFS has enriched my life, and I hope our volunteers have that same feeling as they represent us in serving the community.”
JFS will celebrate volunteers at a Volunteer Appreciation event on April 24t at Jay’s Local. All active volunteers will receive an invitation to join the festivities. “We want to honor the wonderful caring individuals who continually show their dedication and enthusiasm for Jewish Family Service,” says Oxfeld.
To get involved, contact Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.