By Anna Hanuszewicz, JCFS Social Media Specialist
One of the core values at JCFS is an understanding that the community is essential to living. This core value is demonstrated in our participation in events like the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Community Service, held January 15, 2018, at various places within Chicago.
JCFS and JVS staff gave back to the community in many ways in honor of Dr. King’s memory. Several boxes of Kosher and non-Kosher canned goods and non-perishable food items were donated in the weeks prior to the Day of Service and distributed to The ARK and the Niles Township Food Pantry. While 32 employees volunteered at service events held in partnership with other Chicago area Jewish communal agencies, including Chicago Chesed Fund and I Grow Chicago.
Some employees, like Paul Karnatz, Marketing Administrative Assistant, volunteered at an interfaith commemorative service and breakfast co-hosted by the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago and The Historic Stone Temple Church, a former Synagogue located in Chicago’s North Lawndale community. When asked why he chose to volunteer at this event, Paul replied, “The chance to be part of a day of celebration like the Martin Luther King Jr. Day volunteer effort, combined with the location of this volunteer opportunity, got me excited to be able to use my time to serve others.” He also noted that the Jewish and Christian iconography adorning the church’s congregation hall reflects “the spirit of brotherhood and community that would follow the Martin Luther King Jr. service.”
Residents of our Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) helped bake more than 500 cookies. While clients of our Integrated Pediatric Interventions Program (IPI) helped decorate and fill 190 bags of cookies that were delivered, along with hygiene products also donated by JCFS and JVS staff, to The Night Ministry, a Chicago-based organization that works to provide housing, healthcare, and human connection to homeless and needy teens and young adults.
We give our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all our staff and clients who volunteered their talents and time at this year’s Day of Community Service and to our partners for hosting service events and projects. We especially want to thank Roberta Pieta, Respite Supervisor at JCFS, Nancy Dorfman-Schwartz, Senior Director, Child Welfare at JCFS and Marc Bermann, JCFS Foster Parent Recruiter and Support Specialist, who for several years have donated their time and skills in organizing and overseeing JCFS and JVS Chicago’s involvement in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. It is through this spirit of service that everyone’s actions continue Dr. King’s message of honesty, unity and hope to make our community an inclusive and better place for all.