A new year brings change, as we examine our lives and resolve to make somethings better. How can we experience the feelings of satisfaction that come from reaching out to others? Is that even possible in a global pandemic? How can we increase connections to others who may be facing isolation as well as meeting other volunteers who are helping to make the world a little brighter?
Since 2005, Jewish Family Service of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties (JFS) has been engaging volunteers of all ages to get involved with families and isolated seniors. Participating in the Senior Friendly Visitor Program “has been very rewarding to me. I have gotten as much personal satisfaction as I hope I have provided to my seniors over the past several years,” says Cathy Binder Siegel, Plainfield, a retired occupational therapist who has since joined the Board of Trustees of JFS.
“The main benefit of volunteering is knowing that I help out some great people that are restricted due to the pandemic. Some of the senior citizens don't move around the best so I'm blessed to be able to make their lives easier while keeping them healthy/safe” explains Zachary Heishman, 22, of Bridgewater, a recent graduate of Indiana University. While looking for full time employment post-graduation, Zach volunteered through JFS' Senior Grocery Shopper Program, picking up groceries for 7 low income seniors, identified by the Somerset County Office on Aging for the program. After he began full time employment, he continues to shop and talk with one of the seniors. “One lady stood out from the rest due to her kindness. She wouldn't just tell me what groceries she needs, but we would talk about personal things. I've gotten to know her well through our conversations. Every time I help her out I could tell how thankful she is. I know she's been through a lot and times are difficult now so I enjoy making her life a little easier.”
A client in JFS' Family Mentor Program told us (my volunteer) “was a wonderful companion. We shared many good conversations. She was very helpful when I had bad days.” Volunteers consistently give feedback like this “JFS' program strength is a that they provide responsive staff to support volunteers. I appreciate that a qualified, experienced social worker is there for me — and for families.”
You can check out all of our volunteer opportunities — both virtual and through grocery shopping for a senior here, or see specific opportunities:
Online Tutors are also being sought to support children with learning challenges.