“It’s only a drop of what they need, but it helps.” Longtime volunteer Judith Hara can’t remember exactly how long she’s volunteered in the Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry—“Over five years,” she estimates—but she knows she loves doing it. “People have to eat and we’re helping in the little way we can. It’s the right thing to do. It’s just such a good feeling to be able to help.”
Born in New York, Judith moved to Orlando as a young girl in the second grade. She later became a registered nurse and mental health counselor, then a wife and mother. “Until last year, we [my husband and I] were caregivers for our parents. And that was a full-time job. Now I’m entering a new phase of life. My husband and I travel to New York a lot to see our grandkids. I’m very involved as a grandma, as a bubbe. Our two granddaughters live up there. They’re 5 and 8. It’s a great age! And I volunteer. I’m going to be working at the Holocaust Center—I’m a second generation of survivors—and I volunteer here [at JFS Orlando].”
Judith and her husband have supported JFS Orlando for several years. “The whole family is pretty involved with JFS. It’s a marvelous organization that helps a lot of people.” By volunteering, Judith gets to see the direct impact on the community right before her eyes. “You give $1 and you give $6 worth of buying,” she explains. “The food goes directly to the people that need it. That’s really cool! When they have food drives and people donate—you actually see it on the shelf and then in the basket going to somebody. It’s not like there’s middle men. It goes straight to them!”
Due to her travelling, Judith has a flexible volunteer schedule with the Pantry. She picks and chooses when she comes in depending on her schedule and when she’s needed. “It depends on their need. Whenever they need me and I’m available. That’s why Matthew [my volunteer partner for today] never knows when he’s going to see me again!”
Giving back to the community is one of her favorite things about volunteering, but Judith admits that meeting the other volunteers is also a perk. “One of the coolest things is that you meet wonderful people. People that volunteer are a special kind of people. Actually, years ago I met one and we’re the best of friends now! You meet nice people. They’re really terrific.”
We think you’re terrific, Judith! Thank you so much for your many years of volunteering and helping the Pantry continue to aid the Greater Orlando community. Your kindness and positive attitude are contagious and greatly appreciated. Thank you!