Volunteer Spotlight: Barbara Hara Weiss and Kathy Cristol

 


Barbara (left) and Kathy (right), JFS Orlando’s Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry Volunteers

Barbara (left) and Kathy (right), JFS Orlando’s Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry Volunteers

 

Childhood friends, Barbara and Kathy team up to volunteer in JFS Orlando’s Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry. “We have the best time working side by side!”

Barbara first got involved with JFS as a Board Member and worked on JFS fundraising events for years. She used to volunteer in the Pantry with her sister-in-law, Judith Hara. “I loved serving JFS, the clients, and loved the camaraderie I felt when volunteering together,” she says. Barbara and Kathy had always discussed doing something for the community together. So when Kathy was ready to give it a try, they teamed up and began working in the Pantry, packing groceries for the clients, organizing the shelves with food, and weighing and logging in donations. 

Volunteering with JFS has become very important and valuable to both Barbara and Kathy. They explain,

“We love the feeling we had when we got back into our cars, after our shift, knowing we had made the clients’ lives a little easier, and we had given of ourselves to help make that happen.”  

Since the start of the pandemic, volunteering in the Pantry has been put on pause for the safety of volunteers, clients, and staff. During this time, Barbara and Kathy explain how the most challenging aspect has been not being able to see their children and grandchildren often. “Luckily, we have kept in touch with our families through Face Time. Also,” they continue, “because we live in the same community, we have been able to visit each other on our patios. Meeting this way has given us some sense of normalcy and levity.”  

However, they still miss working together and making their volunteering contribution to JFS. “We miss the one-on-one connection when helping the clients.” Even though the volunteers have not been able to help during the pandemic, Barbara and Kathy are glad to know that the Pantry, as well as the other vital services JFS offers, is still operational and has not stopped helping through it all. “If you know of anyone who needs food or psychological care, please contact Jewish Family Services!”

Thank you so much, Barbara and Kathy, for all your hard work and time dedicated to JFS Orlando’s Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry! Not just the food, but the kindness and support you give our clients when they come to the Pantry door truly do help them breathe a little easier. We miss you, and all our volunteers, and we can’t wait to welcome you back!

Interested in helping your community by volunteering with JFS? Roles include helping out in the Pantry and behind-the-scenes office assistance. Although due to the pandemic volunteering at JFS Orlando is currently on hold, you can still begin your application for when the program re-opens by contacting us at 407-644-7593 ext.249 or Audrey.Cohen@JFSorlando.org.

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