Brianne from Cupcakes and Kale Chips joined us in DC to celebrate Volunteer month with the Cabot Gratitude Grille team this past month. We thank her for coming along and sharing about her experience!
After spending the better part of April spreading appreciation for the hard and selfless work of volunteers throughout the greater Washington, DC area, the Farmers’ Gratitude Grill culminated its time around the nation’s capital with several events during National Volunteer Appreciation Week. The week started off cold, damp, and rainy, but inside the Jewish Council for the Aging, there was plenty of warmth and comfort. And I’m not just talking about the macaroni and cheese.
The goal of the JCA is to help older adults live as independently as possible for as long as possible. While they espouse Jewish heritage and values, the JCA assists people from all faiths, ethnicities, and income levels through programs from adult daycare and socialization programs for those suffering from dementia to technology classes and transportation. In order to provide these services to over 30,000 people in the DC area, the JCA has over 800 volunteers teaching computer courses, coaching older adults in job searches, and even doing all of the work that goes on in the background which is rarely seen, but is often the most essential, like administrative tasks and writing grants. But when volunteers are asked what they do for the JCA and the people they serve, the most common answer is, “whatever is needed.”
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David Gamse, the CEO, truly believes that volunteers are their most valuable resource. This sentiment was echoed by President Natalie Cantor. Upon reflecting on a talk she attended during a Holocaust memorial service, she expressed to the room of over 50 volunteers who attended the luncheon that “every volunteer hour goes into the world and multiplies itself, ” reminding them and everyone that while we may not live long enough to be able to see the full breadth of our work, we need to keep doing it. And Assistant CEO Micki Gordon not only expressed her thanks to both the volunteers and the Cabot Farmers through her words, but also by getting right behind the buffet line and serving those who spend their hours serving others.
The Cabot farmers and team might have provided the comfort food with hearty helpings of macaroni and cheese, salad, and of course plenty of Seriously Sharp snacks. But the warmth truly came from the heart of the people at the JCA.
It comes from the volunteers, who spend so many hours ensuring that the older community in this area maintains their independence, dignity, and happiness throughout their lives. It comes from the staff who know that their success in accomplishing their goals is truly driven by the volunteers. And it came from the Cabot team, who, through representing the Cabot farmers, expressed their appreciation for the selfless work and countless volunteer hours at the JCA and around the country.