More Than A Mitzvah

Celebrating Volunteer Appreciation Month

Written by: Emily Griffith, Volunteer Coordinator

As JFS Delaware’s programs evolve and shift to respond to the community’s needs, volunteers have always provided invaluable stability and support; they are our eyes, ears, hearts, and boots on the ground, without whom we could not be as successful or impactful.

Volunteers have a deep sense of duty and understanding of social responsibility. Whether providing transportation, cultural orientation and language support, or a friendly check-in call, JFS volunteers see and interpret the needs of our clients and community, provide feedback for our team to adapt, and offer support and advocacy wherever it is needed.

I began working for JFS in the midst of the pandemic and have been impressed by the passion and dedication of our volunteers. They are eager to serve and have worked virtually and creatively to maintain important connections, and to understand and communicate needs of those we serve. While many nonprofits struggled to maintain their volunteer base without in-person opportunities during COVID, our volunteer base grew.

JFS volunteers understood and anticipated how community needs would change and shifted with our organization to respond quickly and efficiently. Volunteers provided employment coaching and wellness support when COVID left Delawareans without work; they delivered meals and support for older adults to live as independently as possible; groups have rallied around the record number of refugees who are adjusting to their new lives in Delaware. No matter the activity, JFS volunteers play an essential role in how we help our clients thrive.

Our volunteers gain just as much from supporting and knowing our clients as the clients gain from their service. The volunteers do not view these interactions as a mitzvah to complete out of obligation; they understand the value of helping vulnerable people and participating in something greater than themselves.

JFS volunteers form personalized connections and support systems that change the lives of refugees, older adults, and community members. They are thoughtful, patient, and extraordinary problem solvers—an irreplaceable extension of the JFS team.

Meet a few of our outstanding volunteers, who each averaged 85 hours of service last year, in the spotlights below:



JFS Volunteer since April 2018
Volunteers with: RISE and Employment Support Network 

Marion grew up in Philadelphia and moved to Wilmington when she married a Delaware lawyer in 1983. Marion got involved with JFS because we are the only local agency resettling and supporting refugees and immigrants.

What’s your favorite aspect of volunteering with JFS?
I don’t have to leave my Judaism in a closet as I have in other situations. I do this work because of my Jewish values and I’m glad to be safe being open about that.”

 Fun Fact: Marion is happiest when she is in, near, or on a body of water!




JFS Volunteer since March 2018
Volunteers with: Employment Support Network, RISE, and Older Adult Services

Mark is originally from Detroit, Michigan–a client recently detected this in his accent!–but has been living in Delaware for 35 years.

What’s your favorite aspect of volunteering with JFS?
“The people I meet and the stories they tell me.”

Fun Fact: Mark is an amateur astronomer!




JFS Volunteer since October 2021
Volunteers with: RISE

John was born and raised in Philadelphia. He got involved with JFS after being recruited to join a Circle of Care through his church, St. Philips Lutheran.

What’s your favorite aspect of volunteering with JFS?
The personal interactions with the family I help. It’s so uplifting to help on such a personal basis. They understand and trust me and we kid with one another, which I love to do.”



Learn more about volunteer opportunities with JFS >>