Jul 1, 2020
Heroes Among Us: See Federation’s COVID-19 Volunteers in Action
The Jewish Volunteer Center (JVC) of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation has emerged as a lifeline for thousands of Miami residents whose lives have been disrupted by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Working on the frontlines to distribute essential items to those most affected in our community, they are our volunteer heroes in action. Click here to watch how they are providing help and hope to those who need it most.
Since the onset of the pandemic, JVC has been responding to emerging needs by instituting new programs that target diverse audiences and address the economic hardships being experienced in Miami. “We put out a call for volunteers to address the dramatic challenges facing our friends and neighbors and the response has been truly remarkable,” said JVC Chair Esther Sabag Peart. “More than 700 people of all ages have stepped forward and have made a real difference by devoting themselves to JVC projects.”
Four months since the coronavirus crisis paralyzed the economy and skyrocketed unemployment, JVC has spearheaded dozens of food collection, distribution and delivery events, morale-boosting initiatives and targeted outreach programs that have provided critically needed supplies and lifted spirits throughout the community. “Our JVC volunteers are truly impressive, bringing practical assistance and much-needed comfort during one of the most challenging times in our recent history,” said Isaac K. “Ike” Fisher, Federation’s Board Chair. “They have worked tirelessly to strengthen the fabric of our community and fulfill the mitzvah of tikkun olam (repairing the world).”
JVC also instituted a community-wide food collection drive with synagogues throughout Miami-Dade County. To date, the effort has collected more than 1,000 pounds of food for distribution to those facing food insecurity through the Kosher Food Bank, operated by Federation’s primary human services partner Jewish Community Services of South Florida (JCS). Simultaneously, JVC volunteers worked in cooperation with the Galbut Family Miami Beach Jewish Community Center and JCS to distribute a week’s worth of food to 300 families in distress on Miami Beach. Additionally, JVC collaborated with JCS and Feeding South Florida to organize a late-June food distribution drive-through event held at Federation headquarters, which helped supply kosher chicken, baked goods, fresh produce and non-perishables to 1,000 people. And, as hurricane season picks up, more than 300 JVC volunteers will soon deliver 800 hurricane-preparedness kits to JCS clients.
“We are living in a time when each individual actually has the ability to make this very difficult situation a little easier for others by reaching out, with an act of kindness or even an encouraging word,” said Federation President and CEO Jacob Solomon. “Our JVC volunteers exemplify the very best in our Jewish community by performing these acts of loving-kindness through service to others. They are amazing, and they continue to earn all of our respect, admiration and gratitude.”