Viva la Volunteer – April 2014


You Make All the Difference

by Kim Toebbe, Volunteer Coordinator


April was very busy with Pesach, but I wanted to tell you all just how important each and every one of you are to JFCS, our clients, and to me! I’m no poet but here goes:


JFCS volunteers are the bomb
No other volunteers possess such aplomb
When working the pantry, or golf, Shabbos Friends
JFCS volunteers work without end!
Driving PALS clients or working MOSAIC
Tutoring clients or being prosaic
As friendly visitors chatting and smiling
Or library workers sorting and filing
Volunteers who stuff envelopes and help with the mail
Or shop for our clients and don’t miss a sale
Some teach a class or help behind the scene
And don’t forget youths who do Pledge 13
It’s no mystery that JFCS is highly endowed
With talented volunteers who make us so proud!


You Are Invited to JFCS’ Annual Meeting


Please join Jewish Family & Career Services for our 106th Annual Meeting on Tuesday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m. We will celebrate volunteers with recognition and awards during the meeting.


The event will be held at JFCS, and coffee and desserts will be served. The meeting is free and open to the public, but please call JFCS at 452-6341 to reserve your seat.


Klein Older Adults Volunteer: Jimmy Bookstore


0414-VNL-Bookstore1JFCS Friendly Visitor Jimmy Bookstore knew centenarian Bess Miller for years prior to her recent passing at the age of 106.  “I really do miss Bess. She was such a fantastic lady!” said Bookstore who loves visiting seniors. Clients say Bookstore’s friendly visits are a highlight of each week.


Besides volunteering with JFCS, Bookstore is the Vice President of Product Development and Innovation at Brown-Forman. He and his wife Kathy are very active on the Board for South Oldham Little League, which is in charge of all uniforms for players and coaches, concession stand, field maintenance and more for 36 teams which have 12 students and two to four coaches each!


0414-VNL-Bookstore3If that weren’t enough, Bookstore, who believes being involved in sports helps children make good life choices, also coaches a Machine Pitch team, even conducting tryouts for all players.  Bookstore is assistant coach for a Scorpions travel baseball team and 7 U ELS basketball team and Mighty Titans, an obstacle course for children done at schools and other venues.


Through Mighty Titans, Kathy and Jimmy partner with Oldham County Police to organize ID kits for children. Kathy is also “room mom” for the class of their son, Reese.  Reese is on the South Oldham Little League team and is the “poster boy” for the Mighty Titans Mud Run.


Bookstore coached the Upward basketball team last year and was captain of the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Badgers at the Bourbon Chase 200-mile charity run.  (He is in the back row of the photo below, wearing a headband.)  Kathy worked the event too, handing out water and assisting runners.


0414-VNL-Bookstore2Besides JFCS, other nonprofits who receive benefits from the Bookstore family generosity are United Way, Kidney Foundation, Goodwill and the Women’s Help Center.  What a pro-social and community enriching family!


The Bookstores exemplify the concept of Tikkun Olam by engaging in many activities which build character, teach good sportsmanship, and teach children how to handle adversity.  The Bookstores believe in teaching children to respect authority, have a good work ethic and learn the value of discipline – all while strengthening their family and the community.


“Spring Forward” Gets a Great Start


0414-VNL-ClockThe first annual JFCS “Spring Forward” project was a huge hit for the Hirsch family, who visited two area seniors on March 9 to change their clocks and smoke detector batteries.  The friendly family stayed for over an hour with each senior enjoying each other’s company. (Leslie, Glenn, Poppy and Rachel are pictured in the Shabbos Friends article below.)


The project is a part of the Carole & Larry Goldberg Family Mitzvah Program. It is designed to allow families with small children to perform a mitzvah for seniors by helping to reset clocks and check smoke detectors. Several seniors took advantage of this service, and JFCS expects more participants in the Fall version of this kind mitzvah.


The kindness of JFCS volunteers is always “timely.”  Thanks again to all participants of this pilot program.


Shabbos Friends Show Appreciation


On Sunday, April 6, while Louisville welcomed spring sunshine, Carole Snyder and Sara Yamin hosted an appreciation event with food and thank you gifts for Shabbos Friends. Once a month, these volunteers take Shabbat to Jewish older adults who are residents in assisted living facilities.  Carole and Sara endowed the Doris L. & Theodore B. Meyers Shabbos Friends Program in honor of their parents/grandparents, who openly shared the traditions of Judaism with family, friends, older adults and also reached out to the military assigned to Ft. Knox.


So often, these Jewish seniors live in an environment that does not recognize or celebrate their Jewish heritage.  Through Shabbos Friends, JFCS helps to keep Jewish traditions alive for valued seniors.  While some Shabbos Friends are individuals, young families have also found that visiting seniors to offer Shabbat is a positive experience to share with their children.  Leslie and Glenn Hirsch take their daughters, Poppy and Rachel, and Lisa Goldberg took her three-month-old daughter, Rachel, to her last visit.


If you are interested in becoming a Shabbos Friend or are willing to be an on-call substitute, please contact Kim Toebbe at 452-6341, ext 103.


If You Were Arrested for Kindness, Would There Be Enough Evidence to “Convict” You?


0414-VNL-GavelThe author of this wise quote is unknown, but the sentiment is timeless.  Can one be “too kind”?  I don’t think so because of what kindness is and is not.  Kindness is not romantic love, religious love, not conditional love, but compassionate love to all.


One cannot go wrong with kindness, which can diffuse potentially difficult situations, change someone’s day from dark to sunny, communicate unity and brighten the environment for everyone around you.

  • If you are angry, respond with kindness.
  • If you are frustrated, respond with kindness.
  • If you are disappointed, respond with kindness.
  • If you feel sad, respond with kindness.
  • If you feel glad, respond with kindness.


Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch said: “If someone is too tired to give you a smile, leave one of your own, because no one needs a smile as much as those who have none to give.”  Good advice and hard to do sometimes when met with an unsmiling or angry looking countenance.


Girl Holding PlantHuman beings need to be kind to one another to promote human flourishing.  One aspect of kindness can be volunteering, which can also lengthen and enhance your life.  Giving one’s kindness, love and labor emotionally validates both the giver and receiver of services.


Just ask JFCS Food Pantry Co-Manager Linda Goodman, who says, “I love to help others, which helps me too.”


Listen to volunteer Joe Mackey, who picks up the JFCS Dare to Care order once a month then goes to the prison to teach GED classes.  “It makes me feel good to help others wherever possible,” he says.


Volunteer Tami Penner hopes that her volunteer work at Temple Shalom, JFCS, Gilda’s Club, Hosparus, Special Olympics, Catch Healthy Habits (Elderserve) and Interfaith Paths to Peace makes as much of a difference to those she helps as it does for her.  She says, “I love to volunteer, which makes me enjoy life more and appreciate more.”


Okay, so we know volunteers practice kindness … now how about the rest of us?  Ask yourself the question above; if the answer is “no,” it is never too late to start.  Kindness will be mirrored back to you, reinforcing your behavior.  So what are you waiting for?  Try a little kindness.


Shabbos Friends Volunteer: Sandie Meeron

by Kim Toebbe


0414-VNL-MeeronSandie Meeron is a generous, talented, cheerful and inspirational person.  Sandie and I first met several years ago when she applied to be my Activities Assistant at Four Courts Senior Center.  Sandie turned out to be a first-rate assistant with a real flair and talent for senior activities.


Sandie went on to be Activities Director at Barton House, where she implemented innovative programming for cognitively impaired seniors until she was sidetracked with a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment.


Even during her convalescence, Sandie volunteered for JFCS when she could, putting together bags of challah, juice, cups and resident lists for the Doris L. & Theodore B. Meyers Shabbos Friends Program.  Sandie painstakingly made sure each list and bag of supplies was correct before putting them out for Shabbos Friends volunteers to pick up.  When a regular Shabbos Friend volunteer was indisposed, Sandie would substitute in taking the beauty of Shabbat to several long-term-care facilities.  Of course, residents enjoyed Sandie’s friendly, smiling and professional manner.


Sandie now cares for her grandsons while her sons and their wives work.  Mimi, as she is known by her two grandsons, loves the “job” of full-time grandma but still finds time to volunteer when she can.  Sandie comes to the rescue when called, as many JFCS volunteers do, even when she is fatigued or in pain.  The JFCS mission of Tikkun Olam resonates deeply with volunteers like Sandie, for whom JFCS is grateful and proud.


Small Actions Can Have Big Impacts

by Kim Toebbe


Drop Falling into WaterA recent voice mail message said “Hi Kim this is ‘Jane Doe’ and I have some donations for JFCS so please call me back.”  The name of the caller was very familiar but over the years when you meet so many people it can be difficult to place the face and other particulars with a name only.


As soon as I started speaking with the caller however memories came flooding back of her mother for whom I had helped care at the former Four Courts.  This generous daughter wished to honor her late mother by donating goods to JFCS many of which her friends and family had brought to a party featuring a ceremonial burning of her (paid off) home mortgage!


When I went to Jane’s house today to pick up the carload of donated items I immediately saw a decorative piece which had been in her late mother’s room.  We reminisced for a bit about the past and started talking Jane’s desire to volunteer in the near future bringing her business expertise to JFCS.  A former volunteer with JFCS, Jane had a period during which she was unable to volunteer but is now gung ho to get back to helping others.


This is another lovely example of how a small Jewish community like Louisville can make a big difference through generosity, caring, commitment and the concepts of Tikkun Olam.  Jane simply added to the end of her cute invitation:


In lieu of gifts please bring non-perishable items, school supplies or toiletries to benefit Jewish Family & Career Services.  No pork products please!  Thank you!


Can You Help Us?


0414-VNL-nametagDo you have a name tag like the one shown here? We once had several dozen of these name tags, but over the years our stores have dwindled. We would like to collect any remaining name tags and keep them at our office so that volunteers who visit us can be easily identified by staff and clients. If you have a name tag tucked away somewhere, we’d really appreciate it if you’d let us add it to our stash here at the office. Thank you!

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