As Jewish Federation volunteers helped distribute bags of fruits, vegetables and candy outside the nonprofit’s Jerry Doliner Food Bank on Tuesday, November 23, they wished families a “Happy Thanksgiving”.
A man, after placing a bottle of juice in his cart – already full of food – smiled at a volunteer and said, âIt’s thanks to you.
The Jewish Federation of Volusia and Flagler Counties distributed turkeys and groceries each year to families in need for Thanksgiving, and this year was no exception. A little over two months after the death of the organization’s executive director, Gloria Max, volunteers have come together to carry out its mission of feeding the less fortunate in the community.
“We made a promise to him to continue,” said Marvin Miller, president of the Jewish Federation. âWith Janice taking over and running the food bank and all the volunteers you see there, it was worth it, it made him leave. They all stepped up, which was wonderful.
Janice Sumner is the association’s executive secretary and said it was “wonderful” to be able to carry on Max’s legacy. Before joining the Jewish Federation, Sumner said she had always wanted to do social work in the community. She just never got the chance to do it, and Max gave her that opportunity.
âBeing able to continue this is just amazing,â Sumner said.
About 25 volunteers helped distribute 260 turkeys at the Jerry Doliner Food Bank, located at 470 Avenue d’Andalousie. People were already lining up outside the food bank long before the contest started, and Miller and Sumner answered phone calls from people telling them they were late and to please keep their turkeys until they got to the food Bank.
It was business as usual for a Thanksgiving turkey distribution.
âWe are a small part of the community, the Jewish Federation,â Miller said. “It does us good to reach out to so many families.”
The Jewish Federation’s Jerry Doliner Food Bank helps feed about 200 people per week in the community, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. It’s a labor of love, Miller said, as the nonprofit absorbs all of its administration costs to ensure that 100% of donations go to help the community.
âThe public knows what we are doing and supports us,â he said. âThey know we’re here and this Jewish Federation is supported by a lot of the Christian community, so it’s wonderful to work with them, and that’s the rewarding part. Help each other. “
Sumner attributes the success of the Jewish Federation to community support. Every dollar received is put to good use, she said.
“The continuation of this support has been invaluable and will remain so,” Sumner said. “… Gloria used to say that we couldn’t do what we do without you, and it is true.”