Volunteer News from the Desk of Dana Shapiro
Quarterly Newsletter: January 2021

Happy New Year!

As I reflect on the ups and downs of 2020, I am filled with so many emotions, and most importantly, so much gratitude for our amazing volunteers at JFCS. We truly have the best! Whether you jumped in to help with a volunteer need, or reached out to let us know that while you wished you could help, but couldn't due to the challenges of COVID-19, we see you and appreciate you! It's those email exchanges and phone conversations that are so meaningful to us in this time of physical distancing.

There are so many other staff who interact with our volunteers, and we at JFCS take the holistic approach to serving the community. We know there are so many needs that individuals and families are experiencing (many for the first time), and often, these volunteer engagement interactions provide an opportunity for us to offer up other ways to assist you and your families. We have been here for the community for over 100 years, and we will continue to be here for you, your family and the community.

In this issue you will find info on:
  • MLK Day of Service
  • Current volunteer opportunities
  • Volunteer at our neighboring agency, PRISM
  • Volunteer Spotlights
  • Pictures of volunteers in action
  • Staff Q&A with Peggy Mandel
  • 32nd Annual "Laugh on Their Behalf" Virtual Benefit
  • Virtual 20th Annual Conference on Mental Health
  • Just Call JFCS

Read on to learn about how you and your families can volunteer during this time. We are taking safety precautions with COVID-19 for all of these opportunities, and we recognize that not everyone who wants to help will be able to volunteer in person, so we continue to offer virtual opportunities as well.

We hope you and your families are hanging in there and staying safe and healthy. As always, we appreciate your support of JFCS!

Dana Shapiro
Community and Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
& Intake Counselor
dshapiro@jfcsmpls.org or 952-417-2112
MLK Day of Service
This year, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 18 marks the 26th anniversary of the Day of Service, which celebrates the civil right leader's life and legacy.

MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

For more info and to find a volunteer opportunity in your area click here.
Current volunteer opportunities:
Provide transportation for appointments

Due to growing needs, we are seeking a few new volunteers who are comfortable providing transportation to others during this time and can help support our staff drivers.

Garber Transportation volunteer drivers get to sign up for rides that work for their schedule and use their own car to pick up clients who need rides to necessary appointments and errands.

JFCS strictly follows CDC guidelines. One of the changes during COVID-19 is that clients sit in the backseat on the opposite side of the driver. We also limit the cars to one client, and both the client and volunteer are required to wear a face mask.

To learn more about the program, check out these links:

If you want to volunteer with this opportunity, contact dshapiro@jfcsmpls.org.

Deliver books and toys to ParentChild+ families

We are looking for a group of volunteers who are willing to support our staff when needed by delivering items to ParentChild+ participants who live around the Twin Cities.

ParentChild+ is a free home visiting program that promotes creative ways to learn through play, increases parenting skills and helps children prepare for school.

Volunteers will need to be available to pick up items at JFCS on Wednesdays between 1 and 4:30 p.m. This opportunity has minimal interaction with participants and will be a contactless pick-up and drop off. Volunteers will need to be able to lift and carry up to 15 pounds.

Spanish- and Somali-speaking volunteers would be helpful, but not required.

If you want to volunteer with this opportunity, contact dshapiro@jfcsmpls.org.

Deliver event materials to PJ Library parents
We are looking for a couple of volunteers to pick up and drop off kits around town that will be used for two upcoming PJ Library events.

Pick-ups will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 20, and Wednesday, Jan. 27, at one of the Parent Connectors' homes in South Minneapolis.

PJ Library is an international award-winning program designed to strengthen Jewish identity by sending Jewish-content books and music on a monthly basis to children from age newborn through 8 years. For more information, check out: Q&A with PJ Library Coordinator, Carrie Fink

If you want to volunteer with this opportunity, contact dshapiro@jfcsmpls.org.

Send a card to JFCS clients and program participants

Looking for a fun and easy way to give back from the comfort of your own home?

We are looking for volunteers to participate in this family-friendly volunteer opportunity by writing a note(s) to let our clients and program participants know you are thinking about them, and reminding them that they are not alone.

As COVID-19 continues to greatly affect our lives, many people are feeling extra isolated and could benefit from hearing from others. These cards don't have to be fancy, so no pressure if you don't feel creative. Your words will go a long way!

If you want to volunteer with this opportunity, contact dshapiro@jfcsmpls.org and she will provide you with specific card making instructions.
Volunteer at PRISM As needs continue to rise
COVID-19 has tripled the number of people served by our neighboring agency, PRISM, so we are continuing to provide extra support for its Market Place Food Shelf and Shop for Change to help it respond to the growing needs in the community.

Fun facts: Did you know that JFCS' neighboring agency, PRISM, held a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway that fed nearly 5,000 people? PRISM's Holiday Toy Shoppe event provided 1000+ children with gifts.
Volunteer Spotlights

Check out these recent blog posts below to learn about our featured volunteers' experiences with JFCS

If you are open to being featured in a future monthly Volunteer Spotlight, please email Dana at dshapiro@jfcsmpls.org with 'Volunteer Spotlight' in the subject line and she will connect with you.

We love hearing from our volunteers and are always looking for different people to highlight. Thanks for your consideration!

JFCS volunteers have supported JFCS in a number of ways these past few months through opportunities such as: Annual Benefit planning, Annual Conference on Mental Health planning, Hag Sameach shifts in the warehouse and delivering gifts to individuals and organizations in the community, driving for Garber Transportation, delivering food from PRISM food shelf, Jewish Youth Mentoring, connecting with seniors, PJ Library event deliveries, organizing J-Pride events, ACT Thanksgiving bag delivery, writing cards to isolated individuals, and more!
Fun facts: Many of our volunteers help year-round with Hag Sameach (Happy Holidays Program), and the program was able to provide 1,030 individuals with gifts this holiday season. The number of people served this year was an increase of more than 300 over 2019, which itself was an increase of more than 180 from 2018. The program keeps on growing! Click here to read the recent blog post.
JFCS staff continue to find ways to collaborate while
working remotely
The JFCS Volunteer Coordinators group recently met on Zoom to reflect on
volunteer-related pivotal moments, accomplishments and lessons learned from
2020 and to start planning for 2021.

How long have you worked at JFCS and have you always worked with this program?
I have had the pleasure of working at JFCS since early March 2020. My job is terrific and I love what I do. I feel very fortunate to be able to work with a dedicated, kind, helpful and hard-working group of folks.

Tell us about the Annual Benefit and how you interact with volunteers through your role
Since the Annual Benefit had to transition to a virtual event, we set to create a completely re-envisioned experience. An "SNL"-themed evening with mission-driven, engaging, funny and tender segments, all clocking under 45 minutes, was born. Therefore, current Benefit volunteer roles needed to evolve. Since interacting with volunteers is not only an integral part of my job, but inherent to the success of the Benefit, my challenge was to ensure volunteers still felt engaged, connected and reassured in their revised roles.

Fun fact: This year's virtual event raised just over $547,000! Thank you to all our donors!
Virtual Annual Conference on Mental Health sessions
available for viewing
Fun fact: People logged in from over 450 computers in 17 states around the country, in addition to Canada!
The COVID-19 Emergency Financial Aid Fund
Are you experiencing financial need directly related to the coronavirus pandemic or economic downturn? We are able to respond to financial needs by providing assistance in a variety of ways, including scholarships, grants and no-interest loans.

>Click here for more information or call 952-546-0616.

Phone calls, applications and assistance if eligible will be kept completely confidential.
For more information about volunteer services at JFCS, contact Dana Shapiro, Community and Volunteer Engagement Coordinator & Intake Counselor, at dshapiro@jfcsmpls.org or 952-417-2112.
Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis
5905 Golden Valley Rd | Golden Valley, MN 55422
952-546-0616 | 952-593-1778 fax | www.jfcsmpls.org