The CJFS Food Closet
Birmingham’s only kosher-sensitive food pantry
The CJFS Food Closet is open to anyone in need in the greater Birmingham area, and we are in need of volunteers year-round to help with the following:
Launch a food drive drive at your office, school or in your neighborhood – the needs are especially great in the spring and summer months
Your organization could join Club 52!
Pick up and deliver collected foods from drop off points to the Food Closet in CJFS Professional Offices.
Organize our food products and help identify items needed.
Volunteering with our Food Closet makes a great individual or group activity for all ages, and is also an ideal Bar/Bat Mitzvah project.
CJFS has started a new effort to help organizations feed the hungry in our community. We hope that a different business or organization will sign up each week to collect non-perishable goods for our agency to distribute to our clients (click here to see how!). Please learn more about and visit the businesses below who have helped stock our shelves.
Sarah Ellen Levine and Lisa Bebenek are good friends and they are a GREAT volunteer team! Independently, they were CJFS Food Closet volunteers, and now they visit once a month TOGETHER! So hanging out is not only fun, but meaningful too. They work in the closet organizing food, checking for expired goods, and packing bags for people in need in the Birmingham Community. We caught them in the food closet and found out more about why helping CJFS is a great volunteer opportunity.
Q: How did you come to volunteer at our Food Closet?
S: I’ve volunteered in the past helping assemble Baskets of Blessings. One day Alison gave me a call and said there was a real need to help in the food closet. I felt I could use my organizational talents to help get it into shape.
L: I was trying to find a volunteer opportunity for my son. I came with him to dispose of expired food and pack food bags for clients. I found the process was easy and I felt I was really helping the community; when I heard they needed help on a regular basis, I agreed to come monthly without my son. It’s rewarding and fun now that I am teamed up to volunteer with a friend.
Q: Have you learned anything about the Food Closet that surprised you?
S: I can’t believe how quickly the food supply is depleted. One month I will come in and see that there is so much food to organize from a recent drive, and the next month the shelves will be nearly empty!
L: I was surprised by how many donated food items can’t be used: the food will have reached its expiration date before it was donated, or the items will be something that can’t really be used because it isn’t nutritional or has limited use, like hard candy, soy sauce, or hair dye.
Q: How has volunteering with the Food Closet changed you?
S: I actually feel that I am making a real difference in the world, because I can see that this is work that really touches lives and needs to be done. Also, it reminds my family to become more active donors – now at least once a month when I go to the grocery store, my children help choose grocery items to bring to the food closet.
L: It has taught me to become a more informed food closet donor. I have always participated in food drives sponsored by the Temple, but now I really think about what I am donating: I look at the expiration dates on food if it is coming from my cupboards, and I also purchase staples that I know will be used right away.
Q: Is there anything you would like to tell the community?
S: You should come out and volunteer at the food closet – you can get a lot done in as little as one hour on your way to or from the J and you can really affect people’s lives directly.
L: Make an effort to donate on a regular basis to the food closet. Basic staples like tuna, cereal, peanut butter, dried beans and canned fruits & vegetables offer clean and Kosher nutrition for CJFS clients.
If you want to volunteer in our food closet or in other ways, contact Volunteer Programs Coordinator Lise Grace at 879-3438.
For information or to volunteer, contact
E- Mail: Lise Grace
Phone: (205) 879-3438
Click here for Current Volunteer Opportunities
Congrats to Marjorie Perlman,
our 2012 Volunteer of the Year
This Month's Connection Articles
- Our Stories - Uncle Bubba Remembers
- Supporting the "Angelinas" of Birmingham
- Auburn Brasher: The Heart Behind the Voice of Buz-A-Bus
Web Page Updates