Anyone who has visited Jewish Family Services Food Pantry KesherKC Mobile effort has encountered the friendly smile and warm greeting from Susan Lebovitz.
“People sincerely appreciate JFS’s generosity,” said Lebovitz, who started volunteering with the agency in 2019. She’s always willing to pitch in where help is needed. To honor her efforts, Lebovitz has been named JFS Volunteer of the Month.
Volunteering is something Lebovitz has done most of her life. When she first moved to the Kansas City area 50 years ago, Lebovitz approached volunteering with vigor and a way to get to know her new neighbors.
“I’ve always loved volunteering and volunteered from a very young age and throughout all my high school and college,” she said.
“Throughout my years in the KC metro area, I volunteered for a number of organizations. After having ‘jobs’ that fit my needs, I discovered the credible, professional field of Volunteer Management and that became my career for 25 years.”
Lebovitz last worked with SafeHome, Johnson County’s only domestic abuse shelter. The work was challenging and rewarding at the same time. In 2019, Lebovitz finished her professional work career but not her willingness to help others.
“I promised myself once I retired, I’d return to hands on volunteering and that happened with the JFS KesherKC Program,” Lebovitz said.
She came on board with JFS working in the Brookside location of the JFS pantry, which is a busy place. Once the pandemic hit, Lebovitz stayed on board but slightly changed her volunteering as JFS adapted to dealing with Covid-19 protocols.
“My in-person volunteering turned to phone calls…lots of phone calls,” she said.
Lebovitz hung on through all the challenges. Since JFS began offering more in-person volunteer opportunities, Lebovitz has been back helping in the pantry as well as at KesherKC Mobile events around the community.
“I love it,” said Lebovitz of her work with the pantry. “People feel so appreciative that the JFS pantry exists.”
JFS is grateful for Lebovitz’ flexibility and joyful approach to her volunteer efforts.
“I appreciate her willingness to step outside her weekly pantry volunteer role and support JFS wherever help is needed,” said Vicky Leitnaker, Volunteer Engagement Manager.
When Lebovitz is not spending time with JFS, she is out and about volunteering for other organizations including Growing Futures of Overland Park, Gilda’s Club, Congregation Beth Shalom, and Shasheret.