“Looking For the Helpers”

By Steve Schauder, JFS Executive Director

In times of national crisis or tragedy, Mr. Rogers would turn to his young television audience and share a lesson from his mother. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers,’” he recounted. “’You will always find people who are helping.’”
We are living through a once in a century pandemic, and while the hopes of a vaccine seem on the horizon, the long-term stress and anxieties placed on individuals and families is unprecedented. Now in its ninth month and surging, COVID-19 has changed how all of us live our lives. While so many of us have been forced to live in a cocoon, others among us—“the helpers”—have ventured out to provide for those in need in our community.

While we’re indebted to our healthcare professionals and first responders, there are so many additional individuals who have gone above and beyond to help others. Among the helpers are those people associated with our Finkelstein – Cohen Kosher Meals on Wheels Program (KMOW). I want to thank Ed Finkelstein for his continuing support of the program and Allen Geckle, CEO of The Campus of the Jewish Home and Dennis Michaels, the Kitchen Manager for The Jewish Home for providing the food. But I really want to thank our volunteers. Week in and week out, these volunteers have ensured that homebound seniors receive fresh, healthy, low-sodium nutritious meals without any gap in service.

We thank: Heather Ashkenes; Larkin Berkley; Phil Bloom; Sally Jo Bronner; Randy Bronstein; Jill Carre; Robyn Chotiner; Malcolm Cohen; Sarah Coopes; Larry Freedman; David Gottlieb; Maggie Grotzinger; Nancy Herman; Jill Henig; Alexandra Hirsh; Gloria Kaplan; Marina Kogan; Ellis Rosenberg; Mike Shapiro; David Sherman; Julie Sherman; Christine Titih;
Enid Wassner; Rachel Weinstock.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the herculean efforts of John Jantos, our KMOW Coordinator, during this crisis. John is a quiet leader, who leads with equanimity, humor, and is absolutely unflappable. John was a volunteer for 10 years with KMOW and assumed the coordinator position after he retired. John does whatever it takes to keep the program going and along with all of our helpers, it is the seniors of the community who are the beneficiaries.
If you know of someone in need of the program, or would like to volunteer, contact John Jantos at 717-233-1681 or jjantos@jfsofhbg.org.