JFSLA Board Member Organizes Record-Breaking Volunteer Experience
On November 13th, volunteers at the JFS SOVA Community Food & Resource Program (JFS SOVA) warehouse prepared 2,000 distribution bags in preparation for the annual Thanksgiving distribution, breaking the record for most packed bags in a single day. Among the volunteers was Dustin Rosen, one of JFSLA’s newest Board members. Dustin’s interest in volunteering for JFS SOVA began when he toured the JFS SOVA pantry in Van Nuys.
“The tour was really impressive,” said Dustin. “What JFSLA does for the community inspired my interest in becoming a bigger part of the organization and eventually led to me joining the Board.” Inspired to share the importance of JFS SOVA’s work on behalf of people experiencing food insecurity, Dustin coordinated a volunteer experience for his colleagues and professional network. “I work with various startup companies across Los Angeles and the founders of these companies,” said Dustin. “It seemed like a great idea to invite these founders to work together and volunteer. Preparing the Thanksgiving distribution bags seemed a great fit for us.”
Aside from inviting his professional network, Dustin also invited his mother, Betsy Rosen. Dustin remembers growing up watching his mother give back to the community and volunteer with Jewish Family and Children Services in Mercer County, New Jersey (JFCS). To this day, she continues to be an inspiration to Dustin and his charitable work. “Seeing and occasionally participating in in her work with JFCS, are some of my earlier memories of giving back, and so being able to share the experience at JFS SOVA of packing bags with her was a significant and impactful experience,” said Dustin. “She had an amazing time volunteering at JFS SOVA and hopes to spend more time working with JFSLA as a result.”
Dustin, his mother, a group of 13 startup founders, and a group of 12 retired educators arrived at 9 a.m. to help the JFS SOVA pantry prepare for the Thanksgiving distribution by assembling bags of Thanksgiving staples such as stuffing, mashed potatoes, canned green beans, celery, onions, gravy, canned pumpkins, and more.
“The volunteer opportunity was scheduled to run from 9:30 a.m. to noon, but as we kept getting closer to noon, I realized we weren’t going to finish our goal of packing 2,000 bags,” said Felice Resnick, JFS SOVA’s Volunteer Coordinator. “I couldn’t understand why, because in the past we always finished prepping the bags before noon. Then I realized we had never assembled that many bags before!”
To Felice’s surprise, Dustin and his volunteer group offered to stay longer and continue working past noon to assemble as many bags as possible. “Assembling 2,000 bags in one morning is a huge accomplishment,” said Felice. “If we only had a few people working this task, it would take us forever.”
“We all felt very inspired to continue helping,” said Dustin. “This experience certainly made me want to continue to support JFSLA. Many of the founders asked me about bringing back their employees to do it again, which I hope to help facilitate.” To learn more about our volunteer opportunities, visit jfsla.org/volunteer.