The holidays over, but helping those in need is a year-round endeavor. Jewish Family Service of Central Jersey has a variety of opportunities for those seeking to help those who need a hand.

The JFS Charlotte Shak Kosher Food Pantry has Volunteer shifts open from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and once a month on Sunday mornings 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. (The Pantry is closed on Thursday.) The Pantry is located at our office in Elizabeth.

Tomchei Shabbos- A Bi-Monthly Shabbat Food Package Program. Volunteers are needed to pack boxes of food for this program, twice a month. (Flexible schedule, times may vary). More assistance is needed around different holidays.

The JFS Fruit & Vegetable Garden. *Seasonal- (April-November) If you have a green thumb and enjoy working outdoors, we need volunteers of all ages to organize and maintain our vegetable and fruit garden. Volunteers plant, weed and harvest the garden at our office in Elizabeth. No skills necessary. Gardening training is provided. All food grown in the garden is used to supplement Food Pantry Packages.

Be A Friendly Visitor to seniors. We are seeking volunteers who are willing to provide assistance to Union County clients age 60 and older, many of whom are frail, isolated and vulnerable. Volunteers provide companionship, reading mail, arranging medical appointments, providing transportation, lunch time visits, grocery shopping, etc. This can also include a friendly phone call to lend companionship.

We offer different time commitments and locations through volunteering with the many programs Jewish Family Service of Central NJ has to offer. If you are age 55 and older, you can also become an AmeriCorps Volunteer. You can serve in whatever capacity works for your goals and lifestyle. Unless otherwise indicated, many of volunteer opportunities take place at the Jewish Family Service of Central NJ Halpern Building, 655 Westfield Ave., Elizabeth, N.J.

Cafe Europa and other Holocaust Survivor Social Programs. Café Europa is a bi-monthly socialization program, where survivors enjoy lunch and entertainment. A variety of programs occur throughout the month for our survivors and volunteer help is always appreciated. Volunteers serve food, engage with the survivors and participate in assigned duties. Volunteers who can also transport survivors to and from their homes to the JFS office in Elizabeth are also needed. Volunteers are also needed before holidays, to make deliveries to homebound Holocaust Survivors.

The Coffee House Program for Those With Alzheimer’s/Dementia. The Coffee House is an in-person socialization program for individuals with Alzheimer’s/dementia that meets three days a week, (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday) 9:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m., at Temple Sholom, Scotch Plains. Participants enjoy lunch and a monthly concert with their caregivers in a judgement-free environment. Volunteers are needed to help with recreational activities, serve food, engage clients and handle other duties as assigned.

Reading Buddies Program. Volunteer to read to elementary school students for an hour a week at a school near you. Training will be provided.

Volunteer to Teach at the Plainfield Public Library. Help an adult become a citizen, get a GED, or Learn English as a Second Language. No experience necessary. Training and materials will be provided.

Contact the Volunteer Department for more information:

Danielle McLeer, director of Outreach & Volunteers, at [email protected] or 908-352-8375 ext. 238 if you or your group would like to volunteer at Jewish Family Service of Central NJ.

Kathleen Fernandez, Food Pantry Coordinator, [email protected], 908-352-8375 ext. 222 , if you or your group are interested in volunteering in the Food Pantry.

Evely Colon-Coleman, administrative assistant/Garden Coordinator, [email protected], 908-352-8375, ext. 219, if you or your group are interested in volunteering in the Garden.