Sonny Singer is a people person, and connecting with others is one of her favorite things about volunteering with Jewish Family Services. Singer’s dedication to making those connections positive and productive is why JFS is honoring her as its Volunteer of the Month.
“The honor bestowed on me is an honor I am paying to JFS,” Singer said. “I refer to my volunteerism as an opportunity, an opportunity to meet people who add dimension to my life, people who share a smile or shed a tear when needed.”
A longtime member of the community, Singer began volunteering for JFS a number of years ago. She has helped with the Hanukkah Holiday Project and Calling Connections, reaching out to older adults to check in on them.
“I have developed relationships with people and they love to have the call,” Singer said.
Singer continues to volunteer in the JFS Food Pantry on Thursday afternoons “and fill in for others when I can,” she said.
As a pantry volunteer, Singer has been in a relatively new service, Call Ahead, an extension of the JFS Food Pantry delivery service. It provides people who cannot come into the pantry for various reasons the opportunity to place a food order with a volunteer once a month. Calls are made from the comfort of the volunteer’s home and the order is then delivered by a separate group of volunteers.
“I cannot begin to tell you how appreciative the clients are for the phone call as well as the food,” said Singer, who adds a little something extra.
“For the visually-impaired and isolated senior adults, I have begun to read short stories, serving as their eyes. In addition to food, the feedback for reading stories has been positive,” Singer said. “When I’ve read a little story or told a joke and they say ‘you have made my day,’ that is so rewarding.”
Singer’s motivation to give back is rooted in her family. She came to the United States as a young child along with her brother and parents.
“Our primary challenge was language, and I still remember the hardships we encountered just to communicate,” Singer said. “So, given the advanced technology we have today, I began to seek out ways to reach and teach refugees and asylum seekers English. Virtually, I have met, and taught, people from Sri Lanka, Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, Japan, South Korea, Israel, and most recently, the Ukraine…. “It’s a beautiful way of giving back and I’m so blessed to be able to give back.”
The JFS Team is grateful for Sonny’s time, devotion and energy to help.
“Sonny views every volunteer ask or assignment as an “opportunity”, which means she approaches it with such a positive, encouraging attitude,” said Hannah Brockway, KesherKC Kansas Pantry Manager. “Sonny has been calling almost 50 clients every month and has established genuine, caring relationships with so many of them. “Her kindness and light changes every room that she walks in. And she is a GREAT hugger,” Brockway said.
“We are very appreciative of the 10 years Sonny has invested in the food pantry and we thank her for her willingness to jump in wherever we need help,” said Vicki Johansen, JFS Volunteer Engagement Coordinator.
Singer, who is a member of Kehilath Israel Synagogue, also volunteers with NCJW.
“I hope you can see how volunteering has expanded my life,” Singer said. “I say thank you, JFS, for the many resources you offer to help us individually, and together, make this a better world.”
If you are interested in volunteering at JFS please email email@example.com or visit the website www.jfskc.org to learn more about the agency’s opportunities.