If You Build It … Volunteers Will Come!
By Patty Fuller
JFS Planned Giving Specialist
Louie Vener and George Wise, fellow volunteers and former JFS board members, both grew up in the South Bay, had the same doctor, but never met until they got involved with Jewish Family Service (JFS). That was over 25 years ago.
“What struck me the most about JFS,” noted Louie, “is that a lot of nonprofit organizations raise money for their national chapters. JFS directs 100% of its fundraising efforts to help our own community right here in San Diego.”
“Their professionalism, caring and respect for humanity has been consistent all these years,” added Louie. “JFS is progressive and constantly evolving as the needs in the community change. The leadership has been exceptional.”
George Wise became involved with JFS in the ‘60s. His wife was Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. After she rotated off, George served on the board for nine years.
In 1992, Louie retired from his JFS staff position as the Director of Family, Adult and Children’s Services, and stepped into a volunteer role on JFS’s Board of Directors, where he served for 15 years. Then he and George decided to dive in head first as frontline JFS volunteers.
The two amigos spent eight years together delivering meals for the JFS Foodmobile. Every Tuesday, they would visit and deliver food to 10 homebound seniors or younger people with disabilities. Not only was food an important part of their mission, but delivering friendship and compassion to isolated individuals was their true gift.
“I remember one woman that we had been visiting for seven years. She said, ‘You know, I won’t be here for Christmas,’ noted Louie with a tear in his eye. “After that, I came armed with a joke every week and she was so appreciative and accepting of reality.”
“Another gentleman was handicapped, in a wheelchair and had a speech impediment,” added George. “He couldn’t communicate, but he laughed at everything we said. He was so happy to see us every week.”
“I think we face many challenges as we go through life,” concluded Louie. “Sometimes we have to ask for help. Hopefully, most of the time we are in a position to help others. When we help each other, we know we're not alone and that we are members of a caring community.”
Louie continues to deliver meals with Foodmobile and he could use some additional volunteer drivers to help him out. Join the cause and sign up to volunteer today!! www.jfssd.org/volunteer.
Louie and George are proud members of the JFS Legacy Society … helping to shape the future of our community for generations to come. For more information, contact Patty Fuller, Planned Giving Specialist, at (858) 637-3099 or firstname.lastname@example.org.