One connection made by JFS volunteer Maxine “Max” Garrison was with a JFS older adult client, Saundra.
During COVID-19, JFS volunteers have been a critical link to connect with older adults. Many have become more isolated than ever before.
Saundra—a 74-year-old Kansas City native who fell on hard times—has been a JFS client since 2018. She receives food from the JFS Food Pantry, belongs to our monthly Help@Home Program, uses JET Express drivers to get to appointments (as permitted with the current guidelines), and is part of our new Tech Connect program.
“Max and my client have formed a charming relationship,” said Jana Fielder, JFS Older Adult care manager. “Saundra has frequent hospitalization, and Max keeps track of her whereabouts—consistently asking if there is anything that the client needs.
Max is a freelance writer and editor who found time to work as a Food Pantry volunteer two years ago. When new food pantry protocols changed because of COVID-19, Max stepped up to help with Calling Connections “because it felt right helping people feel connected,” she said. “I don’t make other calls at this time, but I do make donations to JFS drives, purchase gifts for children in the JFS Hanukkah program, etc.”
Max is not a Kansas City native but has lived here with her husband for 40 years after growing up in Washington, DC. They have two daughters, and their grandson attends the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
When Saundra heard about Max’s honor, she said, “Well, bless her. She deserves it and more—she deserves two months! I love her dearly, but I can’t tell her what I need because Max will send it to me. Do you know that she sent me a brand-new pair of sandals for my swollen feet? She also sent me books, puzzles, and a blanket.”
Max and Saundra have not had a chance to meet because of COVID-19, but they talk regularly. “Besides my regular check-ins, I call her when the Chiefs are playing because we are both fans,” Max said.