JFS honors Staci Katz as the 2015 Max Japha Volunteer of the Year
Each year, Jewish Family Service of Tidewater honors a volunteer with the Max Japha award to recognize their outstanding volunteer commitment to the agency. Max Japha was extremely active in the Jewish community during the 1970s. He volunteered at the JCC and in his synagogue, and was a regular Meals on Wheels driver to clients much younger than he was. Japha had been chosen as JFS’ first Volunteer of the Year, but two months before he was to be presented with the award. He passed away while visiting Israel. JFS then named the award in his memory.
At JFS’ annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 14, JFS recognized Staci Katz as its Volunteer of the Year. Katz began volunteering with JFS in the Food Pantry about two years ago. What makes Katz a special volunteer is not that she works at the Food Pantry at least once or twice a week. It’s not that she goes to the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia several times a month to shop for the pantry. It’s not that she brings her children to the Food Pantry to help and to show them the value of giving back. What makes Katz special is the way she treats each and every visitor that comes to the pantry.
Jody Laibstain, JFS volunteer coordinator, says, “Staci treats each pantry shopper with so much respect, always making them feel comfortable at a time in their lives that can be very unsettling. She is always ready to listen to a client’s story and provide a shoulder for them to cry on.
“Staci is constantly looking for resources to help a pantry visitor get back on their feet. We at JFS—and especially the clients we serve—are extremely fortunate to have Staci as a volunteer,” says Laibstain.
At the luncheon, Laibstain also recognized Aurora Livingston, a volunteer with the JFS Knitting for Others Club. Livingston is the Knitting for Others group’s ‘human knitting machine.’ While at home dealing with health issues, Livingston likes to keep her fingers moving. She is always knitting hats and scarves for the nursing home residents and for the JFS Helping Hearts program. Because of Livingston’s dedication to JFS, more than 200 Helping Hearts clients will receive knitted gifts during the holiday season.
Jewish Family Service is a constituent agency of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.